US President Donald Trump visited the nation’s capital yesterday, but his visit was overshadowed due to deadly protests in the city. Pro-CAA and anti-CAA groups have been clashing violently for the last three days and this has led to the death of 13 people till now.
The violence erupted in north-east Delhi and the streets are in flames due to arson. The clash escalated on Tuesday and till now, one policeman and 12 civilians have lost their lives. More than 150 people are injured.
On Tuesday evening, Trump spoke at a press conference in Delhi before leaving India. He said that he had not talked about the violence to Prime Minister Narendra Modi because he did not want to comment on “individual cases”. But the president went on to say that the two had discussed the escalating attacks on the Muslim community and he believed that Modi had worked “really hard” for religious freedom.
Trump said, “I had a very powerful answer from PM Modi. He told me that they are 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.”
The agitation in Delhi started on Sunday when Kapil Mishra, who is a local BJP leader made statements that a group of Muslim protesters will be removed violently. The protesters had been blocking a local road peacefully to get their voices heard against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Mishra’s statements were extremely provocative and stirred up an anti-CAA mob which led to the violence between two groups. Stones started being thrown and local businesses were set on fire. It got worse when a rumor was spread that Hindu icons had been demolished. During all of this, a policeman got killed after getting hit by a rock on his head.
A 35-year-old autorickshaw driver, Sachin Kumar had seen the violence on the streets of Khajuri and he said that it was the first time that he had witnessed such violent conflict.
Kumar said, “It is a religious riot that began when the Hindus tried to move Muslim protesters using violence. It has got completely out of hand. I saw shrines and mosques burning. Muslims’ shops were attacked and both sides were throwing stones. Cars were on fire and even the schools have been burned.”
Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal urged the people to keep the peace in the city. A meeting between home minister Amit Shah, Kejriwal, local politicians, and officials from the violence-hit areas was held on Tuesday.
Kejriwal tweeted, “I am very worried about the prevailing situation in certain parts of Delhi. All of us together should make all efforts to restore peace in our city. I again urge everyone to shun violence.”
Section 144 has been put in the violence-hit areas of north-east Delhi. It prevents the gathering of more than four people in the streets.