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Death toll in India citizenship law protests climbs to 17

/ 06:28 PM December 21, 2019
Indian police officers block protesters in New Delhi

Indian policemen stop protesters at a police barricade in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. Police banned public gatherings in parts of the Indian capital and other cities for a third day Friday and cut internet services to try to stop growing protests against a new citizenship law that have so far left 17 people dead and more than 4,000 others detained as of Saturday. (Photo by ALTAF QADRI / AP)

NEW DELHI — Three people died during clashes between demonstrators and police in northern India on Saturday, raising the nationwide death toll in protests against a new citizenship law to 17.

O.P. Singh, the chief of police in Uttar Pradesh state, said the latest deaths have increased the death toll in the state to nine.

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”The number of fatalities may increase,” Singh said.

He did not give further details on the latest deaths.

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Police said that over 600 people in the state have been taken into custody since Friday as part of “preventive action.”

Protesters are angered by a new law that allows Hindus, Christians and other religious minorities who are in India illegally to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted because of their religion in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The law does not apply to Muslims.

Critics have slammed it as a violation of the country’s secular constitution and label it the latest effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government to marginalize India’s 200 million Muslims. Modi has defended the law as a humanitarian gesture.

/atm

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TAGS: India citizenshp law, India protests
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