Politics

Citizenship law provokes bloodshed in Delhi

Trump’s visit to the iconic landmark was overshadowed by the deadly violence developing in Delhi. Source: Pxfuel

On the night of 23 February, targeted violence of anti-Muslim brutality by Hindu mobs rioted throughout Delhi, resulting in a four-day-long crisis. 

According to The Guardian, the majority-Hindu masses raged across India’s capital city setting mosques alight, lynching and burning alive Muslims and destroying properties and businesses owned by the Muslim community. 

Indian authorities are yet to provide an accurate account of all the damages made and what exactly started the four-day clash that left hundreds wounded and 47 people dead. However, tensions between Hindus and Muslims have been circulating for months now after the BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party’s) new citizenship law that was passed in December 2019. The new citizenship law, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), allows illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who entered India fleeing religious persecution before 2014 to seek citizenship in India. However, the law does not allow the same right for Muslims. 

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi passed the CAA as he believed it was a “noble effort to welcome Hindus who are oppressed by Muslim-majority countries.” After the law was enlisted, anti-CAA protests have broken out in almost every major Indian city over the past three months and show no sign of subsiding. Delhi’s most recent four-day assault is thought to be an extremist retaliation to these protests by devote followers and believers of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Imran Khan from north-east Delhi stated, “some of them forced me to pull down my trousers. They started beating me violently as soon as they became sure that I was Muslim.”. Delhi police have been accused by locals of encouraging, enabling and even joining in with the Hindu mobs and the destruction of Muslim property. 

Countless murderous reports were being circulated on WhatsApp as the violence broke out, which the police and local legislators were quick to dismiss. Some Indian journalists were threatened, attacked and even shot at to keep them from documenting the violence that was spreading through the city. The majority of journalists were forced to leave the commotion if they could not provide proof of Hindu religion. 

The CAA has been compared to US President Donald Trump’s travel ban that placed stringent travel restrictions on citizens of Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This was often dubbed a “Muslim ban.” 

Trump said he had not brought up the violence with prime minister Narendra Modi, saying he would not comment on “individual cases”. However, the president said the pair had discussed the rising attacks on the Muslim community and he was satisfied that Modi worked “really hard” on religious freedom.

Coincidently, Trump’s recent visit to Delhi was overshadowed by the violence and brutality occurring just miles away from where he visited the Taj Mahal. In Gujarat, where Trump and President Modi attended a BJP rally together, a wall was constructed by the Indian government to hide slums and protests from America’s view. In a press conference during his trip, the US President stated that the pair had discussed the increasing attacks on the Muslim community and that Modi claimed to be  “working very closely with minorities in India … PM Modi said that there are 200 million Muslims in India, and that his government is working closely with the minorities.”

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