India says US politicising Delhi violence as death toll hits 32

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NEW DELHI: India accused a US government commission of politicising communal violence in New Delhi that killed at least 32 people and injured more than 200.

Protests against a contentious citizenship law began on a smaller scale on Sunday but escalated on Monday — as US President Donald Trump started his two-day trip to India — and Tuesday into running battles between Hindus and Muslims in New Delhi’s north-east, where rioters armed with stones, swords and even guns were out in force.

Sporadic violence hit parts of Delhi overnight as gangs roamed streets littered with the debris of days of communal riots that have killed 32 people, police said on Thursday.

New Delhi, Feb 27 (ANI): Security personnel stand guard after the recent clashes broke out between two groups over the new citizenship law, at Ghonda Chowk in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo/Rahul Singh)

On Wednesday, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said it was deeply troubled by the violence and cited accounts that police had not intervened in attacks against Muslims, which police and India’s federal government have denied.

“The government is failing in its duty to protect its citizens,” Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said.

India’s External Affairs Ministry said the commission’s comments were “factually inaccurate and misleading” and appeared to be “aimed at politicising the issue”.

On Thursday, burnt shops and public vehicles stood charred near a highway in Chandbagh, a Muslim-dominated locality. Streets were littered with broken glass and charred petrol bombs as dozens of police in camouflage and helmets patrolled.

Several reports by Indian media outlets said Muslim localities in the Indian capital were attacked by Hindu mobs screaming pro-Hindu slogans. The reports said these mobs rioted with impunity as the police appeared to aid the marauding crowds.