Thousands of protesters clash with police in India3 min read

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Thousands of protesters clash with police in latest violence sparked by India’s new law blocking Muslims from gaining citizenship

  • PM Narendra Modi’s government said the new law will save religious minorities    
  • Citizenship law offers sanctuary to Christians and Hindus from nearby states  
  • Police fired tear gas in the New Seelampur part of the capital to deter protesters

Clashes erupted in New Delhi on Tuesday between thousands of protesters and police, the latest violence in a week of opposition to a new law that blocks Muslims from neighbouring countries gaining citizenship.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the new law will save religious minorities such as Hindus and Christians from persecution in neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan by offering them a path to Indian citizenship.

But the law does not apply to Muslims, which critics say weakens India’s secular foundations.

Demonstrators in New Delhi throw stones and charge police during protests today. Police fired tear gas in the New Seelampur part of the capital to push back protesters and stop them from  swarming barricades and throwing stones

Demonstrators in New Delhi throw stones and charge police during protests today. Police fired tear gas in the New Seelampur part of the capital to push back protesters and stop them from  swarming barricades and throwing stones

Pictured is a man whose eye was wounded during protests in New Delhi earlier today. A resident said that today's events started out as a 'peaceful protest' but morphed into rioting

Pictured is a man whose eye was wounded during protests in New Delhi earlier today. A resident said that today’s events started out as a ‘peaceful protest’ but morphed into rioting 

Police fired tear gas in the New Seelampur part of the capital to push back swarming and stone-throwing protesters. At least two police were injured, a Reuters witness said.

‘It was as a peaceful protest against the citizenship bill … but got out of hand,’ resident Azib Aman said.

Cars were damaged and roads strewn with rocks while small fires on the road sent smoke into the air.

A riot police officer can be seen returning a brick to demonstrators during New Delhi protests today. The citizenship law follows the revocation of the special status of the Muslim-majority Kashmir region

A riot police officer can be seen returning a brick to demonstrators during New Delhi protests today. The citizenship law follows the revocation of the special status of the Muslim-majority Kashmir region

Riot police fire tear gas cannisters at demonstrators protesting the law in New Delhi today. Another controversial issue is that the construction of a Hindu temple has been approved on the site of a mosque razed by Hindu zealots

Riot police fire tear gas cannisters at demonstrators protesting the law in New Delhi today. Another controversial issue is that the construction of a Hindu temple has been approved on the site of a mosque razed by Hindu zealots 

There have been growing questions about the stance of the government, led by Modi’s Hindu-nationalist party, towards India’s Muslims, who make up 14 per cent of the population.

The citizenship law follows the revocation of the special status of the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, and a court ruling clearing the way for the construction of a Hindu temple on the site of a mosque razed by Hindu zealots.

Anger with the government was stoked this week by allegations of police brutality at Jamia Millia Islamia university on Sunday, when officers entered the campus and fired tear gas to break up a protest.

A protester throws a brick at police officers during demonstrations in New Delhi today. Anger with the government was stoked this week by allegations of police brutality at Jamia Millia Islamia university on Sunday, when officers entered the campus and fired tear gas to break up a protest

A protester throws a brick at police officers during demonstrations in New Delhi today. Anger with the government was stoked this week by allegations of police brutality at Jamia Millia Islamia university on Sunday, when officers entered the campus and fired tear gas to break up a protest

A riot police officer can be seen loading his rifle during protests in New Delhi earlier today

A riot police officer can be seen loading his rifle during protests in New Delhi earlier today 

At least 100 people were wounded.

Modi told a campaign rally on Tuesday that his political rivals were trying to mislead students and others to stir up protests.

‘This is guerrilla politics, they should stop doing this.’  

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