NEW DELHI: At least 20 people were killed in three days of clashes in New Delhi apparently sparked by President Donald Trump’s first state visit to India, with the death toll expected to rise as hospitals were overflowed with dozens of injured people, authorities said Wednesday.
New Delhi’s top elected official, Chief Minister Arjind Kerjiwal, called Wednesday for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to send the Indian army to areas in a northeastern corner of the sprawling capital affected by the riots.
The clashes between Hindu mobs and Muslims, protesting a contentious new citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalization for foreign-born religious minorities of all major faiths in South Asia except Islam, escalated Tuesday, according to Rouf Khan, 43, a resident of Mustafabad, an area in northeast New Delhi.
Khan said the mobs were wielding iron rods, bricks and bamboo sticks and attacked the homes of Muslims amid chants of “Jai Shri Ram,” or “Victory to Lord Ram,” the popular Hindu god of the religious epic Ramayana.
“After forcing inside the homes, they went on a rampage and started beating people and breaking household items,” said Khan, adding that he and his family had to run out of fear and take shelter inside a nearby mosque that he said was guarded by thousands of Muslim men.
“I don’t know if our house was burned or not, but when we were running away we heard them asking people to pour kerosene and burn everything down,” Khan said.
Eighteen people have died since Monday, some of with bullet wounds, according to Sunil Kumar, medical director of the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital.