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Hindu mobs torch mosque in deadly anti-Muslim violence in India

Date of publication: 25 February, 2020

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Videos shared on social media show a Hindu mob climbing on top of the mosque's minaret where they attempted to plant an Indian flag.
Deadly violence against India's Muslim population claimed at least 11 lives and injured 130 on Tuesday, as rioters unleashed a vicious rampage across several parts of New Delhi, setting fires to buildings and vehicles and attacking journalists.

According to witnesses who spoke to AP, smoke rose into the sky when Hindu protesters set fruit and vegetable shops and a Muslim shrine on fire in the Bhajanpur area.

A mosque was also set on fire on Tuesday by a Hindu mob who shouted "Jai Shri Ram", translated to "Hail Lord Ram", Al-Jazeera report.

Videos shared to social media show them climbing on top of the mosque's minaret where they attempt to plant an Indian flag.  

New Delhi has been rocked by anti-Muslim violence since Parliament approved a new citizenship law in December that provides rapid naturalisation for foreign-born minorities while depriving India's indigenous Muslim population of those same rights.

The demonstrations in Delhi had been peaceful until a BJP leader, Kapil Mishra, threatened a group of protesters staging a sit-in against the law over the weekend, warning them that they would be forcibly evicted when US President Donald Trump, who is visiting India, left the country.

On Sunday, Hindu rioters, armed with stones, pickaxes and iron rods began to roam through three Muslim-majority areas in north-east Delhi, about 18km from the heart of the capital, sparking a wave of violence lasting over two days.

Delhi police spokesman MS Randhawa told reporters on Tuesday that the situation was under control and a "sufficient number of policemen" had been deployed.

Yet fresh violence was reported from Muslim populated areas such as Karawal Nagar, Maujpur, Bhajanpura, Vijay Park and Yamuna Vihar, while stones were thrown in neighbourhoods such as Maujpur, according to Al-Jazeera

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Orders prohibiting the assembly of more than five people were defied as shops and vehicles were set on fire, a police officer who spoke to AP on a condition of anonymity, said.

"I can confirm that 11 people have died in the violence, including a policeman who died yesterday," Sunil Kumar, medical superintendent of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, where the injured were taken to, told reporters.

Two journalists belonging to the NDTV news channel were also badly beaten on Tuesday morning.

President Trump, who held bilateral meetings with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, declined to comment on the situation.

"I don't want to discuss that. I want to leave that to India and hopefully they're going to make the right decision for the people," he said.

Amnesty International on Monday said that "anti-Muslim sentiment permeates" the policies of both United States and Indian leaders, who share values of "bigotry and hostility", in a joint statement ahead of Trump's visit.



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