NEW DELHI: As clashes that broke out on Monday over India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continued for a second day in New Delhi, the death toll from the violence rose to 13 on Tuesday.
The clashes between groups that have been demonstrating for and against the CAA also left more than 150 people injured.
The riots — the deadliest violence in the city since protests against the new citizenship law began over two months ago — came as US President Donald Trump was in India on a two-day official visit.
Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met for talks on Tuesday at a venue located a few miles away from where the clashes occurred.
According to reports, angry mobs threw stones and petrol bombs at Muslim homes in Kabir Nagar, near Maujpur. Journalists were also attacked and many were forced to delete pictures and videos from their phones, the publication added.
The report added that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said he had a “positive meeting” with Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the riots in the Indian capital.
Speaking to the media, he maintained that police were outnumbered and were unable to take action as they did not have orders to do so.
Stone-pelting and arson have continued in the Ghonda area, close to Maujpur.
Across the locality, reporters saw broken and burnt vehicles, burnt shops and vehicles still on fire. There were some police standing at the edge of the Hindu-majority area, but did not intervene when vehicles were burning, the publication said.
Eyewitnesses said the violence continued overnight, and several shops were broken. “There was stone pelting in the area early this morning also,” a resident was quoted as saying.
The clashes erupted in a northeastern district of the city between thousands of people demonstrating for and against the new citizenship law.
Tensions in parts of the city remained high on Tuesday with schools remaining shut in some areas amid news reports of fresh clashes. At least five metro stations in the city were closed.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted that schools in the capital’s northeast would be shut on Tuesday and exams postponed.
Police used tear gas and smoke grenades but struggled to disperse the stone-throwing crowds that tore down metal barricades and set vehicles and a petrol pump alight.
One police constable was killed, a police official told Reuters, declining to be named since he wasn’t authorised to speak to media.
A fire department official told Reuters that its teams were responding to reports of at least eight separate cases of arson on Tuesday, linked to fresh protests in the city.
One department vehicle was also torched by protesters on Monday, and a small number of firemen were injured in the violence, he added.
The violence on Monday began just as Trump began his maiden visit to India.
At a press conference early on Tuesday, 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.”
India’s Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to meet Kejriwal and police officials on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation.
India’s capital has been a hotbed of protests against the new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which eases the path of non-Muslims from three neighbouring Muslim-dominated countries to gain Indian citizenship.
This has led to accusations that Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are undermining India’s secular traditions.
The BJP denies any bias against India’s more than 180 million-strong Muslim minority, but objectors have been holding protests and camping out in parts of New Delhi for two months.
The clashes stretched over a nearly kilometre long road and lasted from early afternoon until well into the evening, leaving at least half a dozen people injured.
Police on Monday imposed an emergency law prohibiting any gatherings in the violence-hit areas. The protesters appeared to be divided along religious lines.
A Reuters witness saw at least one Muslim man and a burqa-clad woman were beaten by dozens of pro-law protesters with sticks and iron rods.