Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Death toll rises to 22 from Delhi riots during Trump trip

Published:Wednesday | February 26, 2020 | 9:54 AM
A man stands on a car vandalized in Tuesday's violence in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, February 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

NEW DELHI (AP) — At least 22 people were killed and 189 injured in three days of clashes in New Delhi that coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s first state visit to India, with the death toll expected to rise as hospitals continue to take in the wounded, authorities said Wednesday.

Violence between Hindu mobs and Muslims protesting a new citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalisation for foreign-born religious minorities of all major faiths in South Asia except Islam left shops, Muslim shrines and public vehicles smouldering.

The dead included a policeman and an intelligence bureau officer, and the government has banned public assembly in the affected areas.

An uneasy calm prevailed in the troubled areas on Wednesday.

Officials reported no new violence as large police reinforcements patrolled the area.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval toured the region and assured fear-stricken residents that their lives will be protected.

Doval was responding to a complaint from a girl student that police were not protecting them properly and mobs had vandalised the area and set shops and vehicles on fire.

While riots wracked northeastern New Delhi over the previous days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a lavish reception for Trump, including a rally in his home state of Gujarat attended by more than 100,000 people and the signing of an agreement to purchase more than $3 billion of American helicopters and other military hardware.

On Wednesday, Modi broke his silence on the clashes, tweeting that “peace and harmony are central to (India’s) ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times.”

New Delhi’s top elected official, Chief Minister Arvind Kerjiwal, called for Modi’s home minister, Amit Shah, to send the army to areas in a northeastern corner of the sprawling capital affected by the riots.

Police characterised the situation as tense but under control.

Schools remained closed.

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