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  • People supporting the new citizenship law beat a Muslim man during a clash with those opposing the law in New Delhi, Feb. 24, 2020.

    People supporting the new citizenship law beat a Muslim man during a clash with those opposing the law in New Delhi, Feb. 24, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 February 2020
Opinion

The capital saw its second day of violence as supporters and opponents of the CAA clashed after alleged provocation by a local leader of the ruling far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kapil Mishra.

Four people were killed and nearly 50 were injured Monday during violent clashes against protesters in New Delhi’s deadliest day since the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed last year.

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The capital saw its second day of violence as supporters and opponents of the CAA clashed in the northeastern part of New Delhi after alleged provocation by a local leader of the ruling far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kapil Mishra, who led a rally in support of the new citizenship law.

In a video posted by Mishra on Twitter, he was heard issuing an ultimatum to police to remove anti-CAA sit-ins, adding that they should be quiet as United States President Donald Trump began his two-day trip of India.

The BJP leader said that if the roads were not cleared, "we will be forced to hit the streets.” 

On Monday, social media videos surfaced of riots and extreme violence against the Muslim community, at the heart of the controversial legislation. Many users dubbed the attacks a “pogrom” against Muslims in the capital using the hashtags #DelhiBurning and #DelhiRiots.

'A pogrom is happening in broad daylight, in New Delhi (Maujpur, Jafrabad, Noor-e-ilaahi, Chandbagh, Bhajanpura, Karampuri, Mustafabad),” Indian journalist Utsa Sarmin denounced adding that “Hindu households are marked with saffron flags for rioters to know that these houses aren't supposed to be attacked, videos have started coming from small streets of this part of Delhi.”

India's Home Minister Amit Shah called an urgent meeting of top officials of Delhi over the violence in Jaffrabad. While Delhi police said some incidents of "violence and arson" were reported.

"Yesterday, BJP leader Mishra's men came to Jaffrabad and incited people. Police officials were there but they did nothing," Nadeem Khan, a Delhi-based activist, told Al Jazeera from Jaffrabad.

The law in question has sparked massive protests across the country, as hundreds of thousands of Indians have taken to the streets demanding far-right President Narendra Modi to revoke the legislation. 

The CAA was passed on Dec. 11 and provides non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who moved to the country before 2015 a pathway to citizenship. 

However, critics and opposition parties say the law, which excludes Muslims, is unconstitutional as it bases citizenship on people’s religion and will marginalize India’s 200 million Muslim citizens.

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