Violence erupted after protests sprang up in India’s capital New Delhi on Tuesday against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. A mosque was set on fire and 18 people were killed.
Clashes erupted after supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which restricts the naturalisation and inflow of Muslim refugees to India, attacked anti-government protest sites.
According to The Wire, amob shouting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ paraded around the mosque in Ashok Nagar. Videos of the incident also circulated on social media showing people climbing the mosque’s minaret to hang a saffron flag.
Al Jazeera quoted local media that reported shops in the same area being targeted by the mob.
Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (similar to the Pakistan Penal Code) was imposed as the police restricted large gatherings in northeast Delhi.
Sunil Kumar, the medical director of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital where the injured were taken to, told Al Jazeera that 18 people have died in the violence, including a policeman.
“Since yesterday, we’ve been calling the police to enforce a curfew, to send reinforcements,” Saurabh Sharma, a student from a riot-hit area who took his injured friend to the hospital, told AFP. “But no one has come. There are only three policemen.”
The police estimate that 150 people have been injured in the violence.
Fresh violence has been reported from Muslim populated areas such as Karawal Nagar, Maujpur, Bhajanpura, Vijay Park and Yamuna Vihar, while stones were thrown in neighbourhoods such as Maujpur, according to Al Jazeera.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has appealed for peace after an urgent meeting. He told ANI that his party leaders from the affected areas are saying there is a severe shortage of policemen.
Journalists reported on social media that they too were beaten by pro-CAA protesters. “Two of my colleagues Arvind Gunasekar and Saurabh Shukla were badly beaten by a mob just now in Delhi, they only stopped beating them after realising they are “our people- Hindus”. Absolutely despicable,” journalist Nidhi Razdan wrote on Twitter.