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Clashes in India over citizenship law

Women break down following violent clashes over the new citizenship law on February 26, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Adequate security has been deployed in Maujpur, Seelampur, Gokulpuri and other localities of Northeast Delhi which have seen violent protests in the last three days. Stones were pelted at the police, houses burnt and vehicles smashed. Seventeen people, including a Delhi Police head constable, have been killed in the clashes, and more than 250 injured.(Photo by Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Clashes in India over citizenship law: At least 24 dead as unrest grips nation's capital

At least 24 people are dead and 189 injured as violent clashes in India entered their third day.

Unrest across the country began in December with the passing of a law that makes non-Muslims from some neighbouring nations eligible for fast-tracked citizenship — a move many Muslims say is discriminatory and marks a break from India's secular traditions.

Persecuted religious minorities including from Hindu, Sikh, or Christian communities are eligible for citizenship, but those from Islam do not enjoy all the same advantages.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says the new citizenship law is necessary to protect persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and denies any bias against India's Muslims.

Since cruising back to power in May, Modi has pursued a Hindu-first agenda that has emboldened his followers, who account for about 80 percent of the population, and left India's 180 million Muslims reeling.

Now opponents and supporters of the law, largely divided between Muslims and Hindus, are facing off against each other. Some say the polarization evokes a dark chapter in India's past.

— With files from the Associated Press.