India protests spread over 'anti-Muslim' citizenship lawArchive
Protests in India against a new citizenship law that opponents say is anti-Muslim spread to other regions on Friday, a day after two people were shot dead by police in the northeast of the country, the epicentre of days of demonstrations.
Police with batons and firing tear gas clashed with hundreds of students in New Delhi, television pictures showed, as Muslim protesters set fire to placards in Amritsar and other rallies were held in Kolkata, Kerala and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat.
The protests in Guwahati in the northeast, where medical staff earlier confirmed two people were shot dead out of 26 who were admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds on Thursday night, prompted Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to postpone a summit in the area slated for Sunday.
With four people still in a critical condition on Friday, the UN human rights office in Geneva called on India “to respect the right to peaceful assembly, and to abide by international norms and standards on the use of force when responding to protests”.
In Guwahati, the main city in Assam state, rioters on Thursday left a trail of destruction, torching vehicles, blocking roads with bonfires and hurling stones at thousands of riot police who were backed up by the military.
With the internet suspended in many areas of the city, several thousand people gathered for a sit-in protest on Friday and no major incident was reported. Many cash machines had no money, shops were shuttered and petrol stations closed.
Authorities in Meghalaya, another north-eastern state, cut off mobile internet and imposed a curfew in parts of the capital Shillong. Around 20 people were hurt in clashes there on Friday, reports said.
“They can't settle anyone in our motherland. This is unacceptable. We will die but not allow outsiders to settle here,” protester Manav Das told AFP on Friday in Guwahati.
“We will defeat the government with the force of the people and the government will be forced to revoke the law,” said local activist Samujal Battacharya.