Protests in New Delhi against India's citizenship law ahead of Trump visit


  • World
  • Monday, 24 Feb 2020

Demonstrators are seen through the Indian national flag as they attend a protest organised by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, a Muslim group, against a new citizenship law, in Mumbai, India, February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Prashant Waydande

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Police used tear gas to disperse large crowds in India's capital of New Delhi on Sunday in the latest eruption of violence at protests over a new citizenship law, police officials said.

Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with the two groups pelting each other with stones in the Maujpur area in the northeastern part of the city, according to television footage.

"There must be some miscreants who want to spoil the peace in the area. We will identify them and take action against them," Alok Kumar, a senior Delhi police official, told reporters about the protest.

"The situation is under control now," he added.

The protest comes just a day before U.S. President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India, where he is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom in the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India's Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighbouring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests against Modi's government.

The Indian law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi's administration is undermining India's secular traditions.

Modi's ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country's 180 million Muslims.

On Sunday, a separate protest also erupted in the northern Indian city of Aligarh, where protesters threw stones at the police, state administration official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.

The internet in the area had been suspended until midnight, he added.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Saurabh Sharma in Lucknow; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Alex Richardson)

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