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13 killed, 150 injured as riots in Delhi overshadow Trump visit

  • Published at 10:44 am February 25th, 2020
India-CAA protests-Delhi
A man is beaten during a clash between people supporting the new citizenship law and those opposing the law in New Delhi, India on February 24, 2020 Reuters

'We have about 3,500 police and paramilitary deployed,' said Alok Kumar, the joint commissioner of police

At least 13 people have been killed and over 150 injured in clashes between opposing groups in New Delhi, a police official told Reuters on Tuesday, as riots in parts of the city overshadowed US President Donald Trump's first visit to India.

The clashes, the worst in the capital since protests against a new citizenship law started more than two months ago, began over the weekend, but turned deadly on Monday. Fresh violence erupted in multiple parts of northeast Delhi yesterday, just miles away from where Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met for talks.

A fire department official told Reuters that his teams were responding to more than a dozen separate calls relating to arson incidents yesterday, as fresh protests were held in the city.

A mosque was set on fire in Ashok Vihar area of northeast Delhi Tuesday afternoon, The Wire reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, February 24, 2020 | Reuters

A mob shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Hinduon ka Hindustan [An India of Hindus]” paraded around the burning mosque, and a “Hanuman flag” was placed on top of the building, according to the news website.

Local television channel images showed huge clouds of smoke billowing from a tyre market that was set alight, and mobs wielding sticks and stones were seen walking down the streets in parts of northeast Delhi amid fresh reports of stone-pelting.

At a press conference, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed for people to maintain peace.

"Whatever problems people have can be resolved peacefully," he said. "Violence will not help find a solution."

Schools in the northeast of the city were shut and at least five metro stations in the city were closed.

People supporting a new citizenship law and those opposing the law, clash during a protest in New Delhi India, February 24, 2020 | Reuters

Broadcaster NDTV said three of its reporters and a cameraman were attacked by a mob on the northeastern fringe of the megacity of 20 million people.

A Reuters witness in the area saw paramilitary troops armed with assault rifles patrolling streets that were strewn with rocks and shards of glass.

An announcement over a mosque loudspeaker urged protesters to stay non-violent and not attempt to cross police barricades.