At least 20 people were killed and 189 injured in three days of clashes in New Delhi that coincided with 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, The Associated Press reported.
Violence between Hindu mobs and Muslims protesting a new citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalization for foreign-born religious minorities of all major faiths in South Asia except Islam left shops smoldering. The government has banned public assembly in the affected areas.
While riots wracked northeastern New Delhi, 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 Arjind 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 characterized the situation as tense but under control. Schools remained closed. Sonia Gandhi, a leader of the Congress party, India’s main opposition group, called for Shah to resign.
She accused Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of creating an environment of hatred and its leaders of inciting violence with provocative speeches that sought to paint protesters against the citizenship law as anti-nationalist, Pakistan-funded Muslims.