Violence breaks out in Delhi over anti-Muslim law ahead of Trump’s visit

Indian paramilitary troops used tear gas, smoke grenades to disperse a crowd of clashing protesters in New Delhi. (AP pic)

NEW DELHI: Indian police used tear gas and smoke grenades to disperse a crowd of thousands of protestors in India’s capital of New Delhi on Monday as violence broke out over a new citizenship law just ahead of US President Donald Trump’s maiden visit to the city.

New Delhi has been a hotbed of protest against the controversial new citizenship law and protestors have been camping out continuously in several parts of the capital for the last two months.

Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with stone pelting from both sides.

The two groups have been clashing since Sunday and the people supporting the law were seen chanting “Jai Shree Ram,” amid heavy stone pelting from both sides, according to a Reuters witness.

“We are in support of the CAA. If they want to protest, they should go somewhere else,” a protestor Amit said, giving only one name.

The latest round of violence broke out just as US President Donald Trump began his maiden visit to India, addressing a mega rally in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Monday.

Trump is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi later on Monday.

India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighbouring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests against Modi’s government.

The law is seen by its opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.

Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country’s 180 million Muslims.