Feb 25, 2020 - World

India gives Trump warm welcome as brutal protests rip New Delhi apart

People beating a man in the streets.
People supporting India's new citizenship law beat a Muslim man in New Delhi, India. Photo: Danish Siddiqui/TPX/Reuters

While President Trump enjoys a hero's welcome in India, that nation's capital is being torn apart by violent protests between Hindus and Muslims.

The state of play: At least 186 people — 56 police officers and 130 protesters — have been injured and 10 killed in recent clashes, a New Delhi police spokesperson told the AP.

The big picture: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party passed a law in December that bars Muslim refugees from citizenship.

  • His government has repeatedly blocked internet access in parts of the country that are home to protests.
  • Last year, Modi's government suspended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, which is India's only Muslim-majority state.

In one New Delhi neighborhood, "Muslim residents, many of them women ... began to block a major road" during weekend protests against the law, the N.Y. Times reports.

  • "The next day ... a local leader from Mr. Modi’s political party ... threatened to mobilize a mob to clear out the protesters."
  • "He said he didn’t want to create trouble while Mr. Trump was visiting but warned the police that as soon as Mr. Trump left India ... his followers would clear the streets if the police didn’t.

Between the lines: Trump is seen as a hero by the same Hindu nationalist groups that supported Modi’s rise to power, Axios' Rashaan Ayesh emails.

  • Both leaders have targeted Muslim communities through the power of policy — Modi with the citizenship ban and Trump through his Muslim ban
  • These Hindu groups find Trump’s politics “comforting” because of how bluntly Trump is willing to confront Muslim communities about terrorism, the New York Times writes.

Go deeper: Timeline: The India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir

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