US diplomat urges Delhi rioters to 'refrain from violence' as death toll reaches 34

Published: February 27, 2020
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Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased, tweets Alice Wells. PHOTO: FILE

Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased, tweets Alice Wells. PHOTO: FILE

As the death toll in ongoing communal riots in India’s capital has risen to 34, the US point person for South Asia, Alice Wells has urged the Delhi rioters to “maintain peace and refrain from violence”.

In a tweet from her official handle on Thursday, she said: “Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased and injured in New Delhi. We echo PM @NarendraModi ’s call for calm and normalcy and urge all parties to maintain peace, refrain from violence, and respect the right of peaceful assembly.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for peace in Delhi on Wednesday after days of Hindu-Muslim clashes over a controversial new citizenship law which sparked some of the worst sectarian violence seen in the capital city in decades.

Modi’s appeal came after criticism from opposition parties over the government’s failure to control the violence despite the use of tear gas, pellets and smoke grenades.

Sonia Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress party, called for the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah, who is directly responsible for law and order in Delhi.

The violence erupted between thousands demonstrators for and against the new legislation passed by the Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.

The controversial law gives migrants fleeing persecution from neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh an easier path to citizenship, except that Muslims are excluded.

Critics say it is further proof that Modi, emboldened by a resounding election victory this year, is moving quickly to reshape India as a Hindu nation and weaken its secular foundations.

With additional input from Agencies.

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