NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Black smoke spilled into the sky on Tuesday as Hindus and Muslims clashed in a slum in the Indian capital, killing seven people until sectarian violence erupted during President Trump’s visit to the city.
In other parts of New Delhi, Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to watch the sights and meetings, which were apparently unaffected by the tension and protests that bothered the capital due to Mr. Modi’s first Hindu policies that exploded in riots and gang battles.
Hindu mobs, many of their foreheads bearing the saffron strip, have patrolled the streets with sticks, iron bars and baseball bats, threatening to hit journalists or anyone from strangers.
At least seven people were killed in Maujpur district in north Delhi on Monday, including a police officer who collided in the head with a rock. On Tuesday, the whole region felt on the verge of ignition. Trucking police officers wearing helmets and masks penetrated into the crowd. The streets were full of bricks.
“The situation is tense and tense,” said Aluk Kumar, a senior police officer. “It is a mixed neighborhood, and in seconds there can be crowds of tens of thousands. Even a small thing can lead to violence.”
Mr. Modi’s government designed the Trump visit as a sign of India’s growing global standing, and is seeking to change the page of street protests against Mr. Modi, which organizers have said aims to: Preserving India’s foundation as a secular democracy in the face of what they see as an attempt by Mr. Modi and his allies to transform India into a Hindu state.
The main spark of the protests was the consecration of the Nationality Act which granted expedited naturalization of India to immigrants of every important South Asian religion except Islam. Indian Muslims who looked in despair after the victory over Mr. Moody’s Hindu nationalist base were encouraged to demonstrate, and joined human rights activists, academics and those who are concerned about the direction of the country.
Since last year’s elections handed Moody and his Bharatiya Janata Party another term in office, many Indians have feared renewed sectarian violence across the country, fueled by the Hindu victory and Islamic despair. However, most of the demonstrations have been peaceful so far.
The fighting in Delhi has signaled a dire new stage in the country’s internal divisions, led by Mr. Modi.
This kind of sectarian violence has left a lasting mark on Mr. Modi’s legacy. In 2002, when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, Sectarian riots left more than 1,000 people dead – nearly 800 of them Muslims who were killed by the Hindu mob.
He and his government were accused of quietly ordering the police to stand by the escalation of violence. He denied these accusations, and in 2012, he formed a Supreme Court Inquiry Committee He found no evidence to charge him. However, until he won the post of prime minister in 2014, he was denied entry to the United States due to suspicions.
On Sunday, trouble in Magbur began when the Hindu population began to demonstrate in favor of the Nationality Law, and then attempted to forcibly remove Muslim demonstrators by force. Soon protests deteriorated into confrontations between youths from both sides who threw stones.