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Violence Erupts in India on Citizenship02/25 06:22

   NEW DELHI (AP) -- New violence erupted in the Indian capital on Tuesday, a 
day after at least seven people, including a police officer, were killed and 
more than 100 others were reportedly injured in clashes between hundreds of 
supporters and opponents of a new citizenship law that excludes Muslims, police 
said.

   An angry group of Hindus carrying pickaxes and iron rods roamed the 
Bhajanpur area of northeastern New Delhi shouting praises to Hindu gods and 
goddesses as they threw stones at a rival group, mainly Muslims, that opposed 
the new law.

   Police fired tear gas to disperse the two groups, who retreated to the two 
sides of a highway.

   Black smoke rose into the sky after protesters set fruit and vegetable shops 
and a Muslim shrine on fire, witnesses said.

   The clashes occurred as U.S. President Donald Trump held talks with Indian 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the second day of a visit to India.

   Protesters in several other areas of northeastern New Delhi defied orders 
prohibiting the assembly of more than five people and threw stones and set some 
shops and vehicles on fire, a police officer said. Some homes were attacked 
with rocks.

   The police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not 
authorized to talk to reporters, said the situation was tense but under 
control. Police and paramilitary forces sent reinforcements to quell the 
clashes.

   The New Delhi Television news channel said more than 100 people had been 
injured in clashes since Monday.

   Police spokesman Anil Kumar confirmed seven deaths on Monday, but said he 
didn't have the number of people injured in Tuesday's violence.

   During Monday's protests, police fired tear gas and used canes as they 
charged at protesters in several areas of New Delhi. The rival groups hurled 
rocks at each other and set some houses, shops, vehicles and a gasoline pump on 
fire. Police closed two metro stations in the area.

   One police officer was killed in the violence after he was hit by rocks, 
police officer Anuj Kumar said. Eleven other officers were injured by rocks as 
they tried to separate rival groups, police said.

   Also Monday, Hindu nationalist and communist groups held pro- and anti-U.S. 
street demonstrations in the capital.

   India has been rocked by violence since Parliament approved a new 
citizenship law in December that provides fast-track naturalization for some 
foreign-born religious minorities but not Muslims.

   Critics say the country is moving toward a religious citizenship test. At a 
massive rally in Ahmedabad after Trump's arrival on Monday, the president 
praised India's history of religious tolerance, saying many faiths "worship 
side by side in harmony."


(KR)

 
 
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