Monday 27 January 2020

Buses burnt as migrant law protests turn ugly in India

Blaze: A man runs past a bus that was set on fire by demonstrators during the protest in New Delhi. Photo: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
Blaze: A man runs past a bus that was set on fire by demonstrators during the protest in New Delhi. Photo: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Adnan Abidi

Indian police fired tear gas and resorted to baton charges to disperse thousands of violent demonstrators who were torching vehicles in New Delhi, as protests against a new citizenship law continued for a fifth straight day across the country.

The new law enacted on December 11 has stirred protests across India, but the eastern part of the country, where resentment towards Bangladeshi immigrants has persisted for decades, has been among the worst hit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government says the new law will save religious minorities such as Hindus and Christians from persecution in neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan by offering them a path to Indian citizenship.

But critics say the law, which does not make the same provision for Muslims, weakens India's secular foundations.

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Protesters in South Delhi yesterday, including locals and some students, burned buses, cars and motorbikes.

Police resorted to baton charges and firing tear gas to disperse what they estimated to be about 4,000 protesters.

Police chase protesters. Photo: Reuters
Police chase protesters. Photo: Reuters

The 500-metre stretch of road where the protesters had gathered was strewn with glass, stones, broken bits of bricks and overturned motorcycles.

Later, police stormed into the nearby Jamia Milia Islamia University campus where many protesters were believed to have fled and fired tear gas on the campus and marched some students out, while detaining others.

A woman is helped after she was injured. Photo: Reuters
A woman is helped after she was injured. Photo: Reuters

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