Delhi riots: 23 killed as Hindu and Muslim groups clash

Delhi remains on edge after the third consecutive night of rioting, with reports of Muslim homes and shops being targeted by violent mobs.

Twenty-three people have been killed so far in the deadliest violence the Indian capital has seen in decades.

The clashes first broke out on Sunday between protesters for and against a controversial citizenship law.

But they have since taken on communal overtones, with reports of people being attacked based on their religion.

Photographs, videos and accounts on social media paint a chilling image of the last few days – of mobs beating unarmed men, including journalists; of groups of men with sticks, iron rods and stones wandering the streets; and of Hindus and Muslims facing off.

The Delhi High Court, which is hearing petitions about the violence, has said it cannot let “another 1984” happen on its “watch”. In 1984, more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in anti-Sikh riots in the city.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Wednesday, three days after the violence broke out, appealing for peace. He added that he had reviewed the situation and police were working to restore normalcy.

A partially burnt mosque in Delhi's Mustafabad
Image captionMosques have been vandalised in the clashes

Opposition leader Sonia Gandhi has called for the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah, saying he is “responsible” for the violence.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has described the situation as “alarming” and demanded for the army to be called in.

The unrest is centred around Muslim-majority neighbourhoods – such as Maujpur, Mustafabad, Jaffrabad and Shiv Vihar – in north-east Delhi.

The streets in these areas are littered with stones and shattered glass, broken and burnt vehicles are strewn about, and the stench of smoke from smouldering buildings fills the air.

What is happening now?

While fresh clashes have not been reported on Wednesday, the city continues to simmer.

BBC reporters saw Muslim residents in Mustafabad leaving their homes with bags and bundles of their belongings, fearing further clashes.

Twitter post by @NicolaCareem: Muslim residents from Mustafabad in north east Delhi leave the area carrying their belongings with them. #DelhiViolence #DelhiRiots

Judging by the names released so far, both Hindus and Muslims are among victims. Some 189 people are injured, according to officials at the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital where many of them have been admitted.

BBC reporters at the hospital say they saw people with all sorts of injuries, including bullet wounds, scrambling for treatment. They say the hospital seemed “overwhelmed”, and many of the injured were “too scared to go back home”.

Many, including journalists, have tweeted and spoken of mobs demanding to know their religion. At least one photojournalist said he was asked to remove his pants to prove his identity. This has also happened during religious riots in the past to identify Muslims as they are usually circumcised.

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