As India counts dead, brutality of Hindu-Muslim riot emerges

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People mourn next to the body of Muddasir Khan, who was wounded on Tuesday in a clash between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law, after he succumbed to his injuries, in a riot affected area in New Delhi, India, February 27, 2020. (REUTERS)
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A Hindu religious flag flutters on the minaret of a burnt-out mosque following sectarian riots over India's new citizenship law, at Mustafabad area in New Delhi on February 28, 2020. (AFP)
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Security forces patrol in a riot affected area following clashes between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law in New Delhi, India, February 27, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Muslim residents carrying their belongings leave their neighbourhood following sectarian riots over India's new citizenship law, at Brijpuri area in New Delhi on February 28, 2020. (AFP)
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A man holds a tear gas canister found inside burn-out Farooqia mosque, attacked on February 24 and 25, following sectarian riots over India's new citizenship law, at Brijpuri area in New Delhi on February 28, 2020. (AFP)
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A woman mourns over the body of her son, Hashim Ali, who was wounded on Tuesday in a clash between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law, after he succumbed to his injuries, in a riot affected area in New Delhi, India, February 29, 2020. (REUTERS)
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People carry the body of Hashim Ali, who was wounded on Tuesday in a clash between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law, after he succumbed to his injuries, during his funeral procession in a riot affected area in New Delhi, India, February 29, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 01 March 2020

As India counts dead, brutality of Hindu-Muslim riot emerges

  • Questions have been raised about the role of the New Delhi police and whether they stood by while the violence raged or even aided the Hindu mobs
  • The violence appeared to be a culmination of growing tensions that followed the passage of a new citizenship law in December

NEW DELHI: The wounded came in waves. First in ones and twos, limping up the steps and staggering through the aluminum doors, and then in wheelbarrows, with bleeding skulls and stabbed necks. Finally, the motorcycles and auto-rickshaws arrived, their seats stained with the blood of as many as they could hold.

As the Mustafabad neighborhood of India’s capital was ravaged by communal riots for three days this week, the Al-Hind Hospital turned from a community clinic into a trauma ward.
Doctors like M.A. Anwar were for the first time dealing with injuries such as gunshot wounds, crushed skulls and torn genitals.
Almost a week after the clashes between Hindus and Muslims began, a clearer picture of the horrors inflicted during New Delhi’s worst communal riots in decades has begun to emerge.
On the eve of President Donald Trump’s first state visit to India last Sunday, Hindus and Muslims in the Indian capital charged at each other with homemade guns and crude weapons, leaving the streets where the rioting occurred resembling a war zone, with houses, shops, mosques, schools and vehicles up in flames. At least 42 people were killed and hundreds more wounded.
While both sides behaved brutally, most of the victims were Muslim.
The violence appeared to be a culmination of growing tensions that followed the passage of a new citizenship law in December.
The law fast-tracks naturalization for some religious minorities from neighboring countries but not Muslims. Opponents say it violates India’s secular constitution, and further marginalizes the 200 million Muslims in this Hindu-majority nation of 1.4 billion people.
The law spurred massive protests across India that left at least 23 dead.
But what unfolded in Mustafabad this week was far more brutal, with mobs hacking individuals with swords, burning people alive and bludgeoning people to death.
A Hindu intelligence bureau officer was repeatedly stabbed and his dead body thrown into a sewage drain that divides Hindu and Muslim residential areas. A Muslim man had his legs spread so far apart that the lower half of his body tore. His condition remained critical.
Questions have been raised about the role of the New Delhi police and whether they stood by while the violence raged or even aided the Hindu mobs. A New Delhi police spokesman, Anil Mittal, denied that police had aided rioters.
At Guru Teg Bahadur hospital along New Delhi’s eastern border, 18-year-old Salman Ansari waited for his father’s body to be handed over.
Ansari’s father had gone out to collect scrap for money as there was no food in the house. After seeing police assurances on the news, he thought it would be safe. It wasn’t.
Ansari said he was sleeping when two strangers dumped his father outside their home early Wednesday.
He carted his father 3 km on the family’s rickshaw to a private clinic. The doctors demanded 5,000 rupees ($69). His pockets were empty.
By the time Ansari managed to reach a public hospital, his father was dead.


Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

Updated 12 July 2020

Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

  • Exercise being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory

HONG KONG: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.
The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.
Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.
Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.
To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.
On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.