• Saturday, Jul 04, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:06 am

22 dead, 189 wounded in Delhi riots

  • Published at 12:06 pm February 26th, 2020
India Riot Muslim torture
People supporting the new citizenship law beat a Muslim man during a clash with those opposing the law in New Delhi, on February 24, 2020 Reuters

India's capital has been the epicentre of unrest against the Citizenship Amendment Act

At least 22 people have now died in days of sectarian riots in New Delhi, with 189 people wounded including around 60 by gunshot, the director of the hospital treating most of those affected said Wednesday.

"The death toll stands at 22, 189 people are undergoing treatment at the hospital. Around 60 have gunshot wounds," Sunil Kumar from the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital told AFP.

Police used tear gas, smoke grenades and pellets, but have struggled to disperse stone-throwing crowds involved in the violence that spiralled out of control on Monday.

The clashes, which coincided with a visit to India by US President Donald Trump, erupted between thousands demonstrating for and against the new citizenship law introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government.

India's capital has been the epicentre of unrest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which makes it easier for non-Muslims from some neighbouring Muslim-dominated countries to gain Indian citizenship.

Critics say the law is biased against Muslims and undermines India's secular constitution. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has denied it has any bias against India's more than 180 million Muslims.

Reuters witnesses saw mobs wielding sticks, pipes and stones walking down streets in parts of northeast Delhi on Tuesday, amid incidents of arson, looting and stone-throwing. Clouds of black smoke billowed from a tyre market that had been set alight in the area, as fire trucks rushed to control the blaze.

Shots could be heard in the area and many of the wounded had suffered gunshot injuries, hospital officials said.

However, there were no immediate reports of any fighting on Wednesday.

"The situation is relatively better than yesterday in the violence hit areas," Atul Garg, the director of the Delhi fire department told Reuters on Wednesday, adding the fire department had stationed additional vehicles in the area and senior officials are camping there.

"There are no rioters on the streets and our vehicles have been able to reach the area," he said.

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