Riots have gripped the Indian capital of New Delhi over a law that grants citizenship for illegal immigrants from neighboring Muslim-majority countries — as long as they are not Muslim.
The violence, which coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s first state visit, broke out between those in favor and those against the law in the streets northeast of the city. The riots led to the deaths of at least 43 people since Sunday.
Passed by the Indian Parliament in December, the Citizenship Amendment Act (2019) amends the legislation from 1955 by providing a path to Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who illegally immigrated from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before December 2014.
The amendment leaves off Muslims, however, as proponents justify that it aims to help victims of religious persecution in those countries, which happen to be Muslim-majorities.
To date, the Indian government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has provided no explanation for singling out immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, despite the fact that India receives more immigrants from other countries.
The law fits into the party’s larger goal of building a Hindu nation, leaving as many as 200 million Muslims with Indian citizenships insecure of their future, according to an analysis written by Suparna Chaudhry for the Washington Post.
Son of a riot victim in New Delhi. It’s neither a win for Hindus nor Muslims but a loss of India. Soul of India is bruised.
Shameful when foreigners remind us to follow Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching. Instead every citizen of this country should have been an ambassador of Ghandism. pic.twitter.com/WYaFNrEHIb
— Imtiyaz Hussain (@hussain_imtiyaz) February 28, 2020
Since the violence escalated, Indian Twitter users have shared updates using the hashtag “#DelhiIsBurning.” Top tweets show graphic images and videos of the riots, house torching, and gun-wielding, to name a few.
Doctors said that most who were killed had died of gunshot wounds. They include both Muslims and Hindus, The New York Times noted.
Horrific! Injured people are laying down on the ground and they are forced to sing the national anthem.
— DOAM (@doamuslims) February 24, 2020
X-Ray report of a 19yr old who was attacked in his own shop when rioters pushed a portion of drill machine in his head!!! Admitted to #GTB
Hiding his face for obvious reasons..But see the brutality for yourself!#DelhiViolence pic.twitter.com/HiiMHcfA4X
— Payal Mehta/પાયલ મેહતા/ पायल मेहता/ পাযেল মেহতা (@payalmehta100) February 25, 2020
— Samar (@Samar_Muslimah) February 25, 2020
Hindu houses attacked under Broad day light by anti CAA protesters.
When communla card faled, Congress now blames the govt which terribly failed during 1984 riots.#AmitShahIstifaDo #SoniaGandhi #DelhiIsBurning #DelhiVoilence सोनिया गांधी Sonia Gandhi pic.twitter.com/OPFrYxeMTo
— Geetika Swami (@SwamiGeetika) February 26, 2020
While wtchng ds video d way @DelhiPolice is being humiliated & threatened one feels they shld hv fired atleast tear gas.
Shld hv gone allout 2 tch lssns to ds goons.
Those abusing #DelhiPolice fr their inaction shld b ashamed of thmslvs.#letsspprtDelhipolice . #DelhiIsBurning pic.twitter.com/FO6feP7sLz
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) February 26, 2020
Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition party Indian National Congress, tweeted Monday that he “unequivocally condemned” the violence.
“The violence today in Delhi is disturbing & must be unequivocally condemned. Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion & understanding no matter what the provocation.”
The violence today in Delhi is disturbing & must be unequivocally condemned. Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified. I urge the citizens of Delhi to show restraint, compassion & understanding no matter what the provocation.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 24, 2020
Among the worst acts of violence, occurred in a mosque in the Ashok Nagar neighborhood on Tuesday. Anti-CAA protesters reportedly stormed in during a prayer, beat up the imam, killed the muezzin and ultimately set the building on fire.
“They brought batons and stones inside the mosque and the people outside had guns as well. We had to stop praying and run away,” local Abdul Samar told CNN.
A mosque in #Gokalpuri burned down by Hindutva extremist mob during their rampage in #Delhi city. #India #Islamophobia #DelhiPolice #DelhiViolence #DelhiIsBurning #DelhiBurning #DelhiRiots #DelhiCAAClashes pic.twitter.com/weJJHSW67u
— DOAM (@doamuslims) February 25, 2020
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was hosting Trump amid the riots, called for peace in a tweet on Wednesday.
“Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there is calm and normalcy is restored [sic] at the earliest.”
Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times. It is important that there is calm and normalcy is restored at the earliest.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 26, 2020