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A mob out for blood: India's protests pit Hindus against Muslims

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:58s - Published < > Embed
A mob out for blood: India's protests pit Hindus against Muslims

A mob out for blood: India's protests pit Hindus against Muslims

Mohammad Zubair was on his way home from a local mosque in northeast New Delhi when he came across a large crowd.

He turned towards an underpass to avoid the commotion; it proved to be a mistake.

Soraya Ali reports.

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A mob out for blood: India's protests pit Hindus against Muslims

Mohammad Zubair was on his way home from a mosque in New Delhi on Monday (February 26), when a crowd of men began beating him with wooden sticks and metal rods.

With blood flowing from his head, he thought he would die.

He is just one of hundreds caught up in the violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims in India's capital city, protesting over a new citizenship law.

(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) 37-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO WAS BEATEN UP DURING ANTI-CITIZENSHIP VIOLENCE, MOHAMMAD ZUBAIR, SAYING: "Twenty to twenty-five people started beating me, the rest were standing by as if they were watching a show.

There were thousands behind them, they kept hitting me... nobody came forward to save me.

Somehow, some people came from the other side, I was like unconscious.

I didn't have much consciousness... my clothes were drenched in blood." At least 24 people have been killed in the riots and hundreds more wounded, according to hospital officials.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to protesters on Wednesday (February 26) calling for peace on both sides.

It's the citizenship law introduced by him and his Hindu nationalist government that's reignited tensions between the country's Hindu and minority Muslim groups.

The new law, passed in December, makes it easier for non-Muslims from neighboring countries to gain Indian citizenship.

And it's been criticized for undermining India's secular traditions.

(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) 37-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO WAS BEATEN UP DURING ANTI-CITIZENSHIP VIOLENCE, MOHAMMAD ZUBAIR, SAYING: "They saw I was alone, they saw my cap, beard, shalwar kameez (Indian traditional attire) and saw me as a Muslim, they just started attacking, shouted slogans... I had not said anything to them, I did not do them any harm." Modi and his BJP party denies any bias against the country's Muslims - saying the new citizenship law is necessary to protect persecuted minorities.

A party spokesman condemned the violence - blaming rival parties for stoking chaos.




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