New Delhi violence: Clashes in India overshadow Trump’s visit

Staff writer

Violent protests erupted across the city against the Citizenship Amendment Act

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As US President Donald Trump concludes his visit to India, protests continue in parts of the country against the newly implemented Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The controversial law was passed in December, sparking protests across India. At least 27 people have died in the months-long clashes. Currently, the worst violence is in the capital of New Delhi.

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The law offers Indian citizenship to immigrants from three nearby countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – but only those who are non-Muslim.

India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – led by the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi – says the law is designed to protect those fleeing religious persecution in the three Muslim-majority countries.

However, critics say the law is a way for the BJP – a Hindu nationalist party – to marginalise Muslims.

President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met earlier this week during Trump's visit to the South Asian nation.
Photo: AP

They also say the law violates India’s secular constitution, which prohibits religious discrimination against its citizens.

Despite these claims, India’s Supreme Court said on January 22 that it would not postpone the implementation of the new law.

The backlash against the CAA may explain why Modi’s party suffered such a crushing defeat in the New Delhi elections earlier this month. Voters in the country’s capital instead chose to re-elect the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is popular among poorer communities for its welfare policies.

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Modi may have hoped Trump’s visit would give him some good exposure, but it is unclear whether it has strengthened ties between the US and India in any tangible way.

What’s more, some parts of the US are just as unhappy with Modi’s policies. Two US cities – Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Seattle, Washington – have so far called for India to repeal the CAA.

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