The unrest erupted in parts of New Delhi on Monday, several hours ahead of the arrival of US President Donald Trump, who is in India on a state visit.
Police deployed tear gas in affected areas, as protesters hurled stones and set numerous vehicles and a gasoline pump on fire, according to police. The violence took place in East Delhi, approximately 11 miles from where Trump is holding talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s highest elected official, tweeted that the violence was “very distressing” and requested that “peace and harmony” be restored.
As of Tuesday, 150 people were in hospital with various blunt force and bullet injuries, according to a medical officer, who did not want to be named. Fifty of those wounded were from firearm injuries, the medical officer said.
Thirteen people have been declared dead, including a police officer who died from a bullet injury to the head.
Months of protests
Opposition parties say the law is unconstitutional as it bases citizenship on a person’s religion and would further marginalize India’s 200-million strong Muslim community.
The government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the law seeks to protect religious minorities who fled persecution in their home countries.
There has also been pushback from indigenous groups in India’s northeastern states, who fear that giving citizenship to large numbers of immigrants would change the unique ethnic make-up of the region and their way of life, regardless of religion.
The latest bout of violence comes as Trump visits India for the first time as US President, a much-anticipated event intended to bolster US-India relations.
Speaking to the media in New Delhi on Tuesday, Trump said that he had not raised the clashes with his counterpart, Prime Minister Modi, but that they had discussed religious freedom.
American officials have previously expressed concern about the citizenship law and suggested that the President should raise the issue with Modi during the trip.
Protests continued in the capital on Tuesday, where Trump is holding formal talks with Modi and his administration, followed by a state banquet at the ornate Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official presidential palace, in the evening.
Asad Ali, who works at a factory, said he had witnessed more violence in East Delhi. “There are a lot of mobs outside and they are running around with rods breaking windows and destroying vehicles. We aren’t able to leave our houses. They are pelting stones as well,” Ali told CNN.
CNN has reached out to local police for comment.
Police spokesman Alok Kumar said earlier in the day that police had taken continuous action and that “force has been deployed” throughout affected areas Tuesday in a bid to quell signs of further unrest.
Several Indian journalists have been injured covering the clashes. Arvind Gunasekar, a correspondent working for NDTV, told CNN he was in East Delhi reporting on violence at a Muslim graveyard on Monday when a mob of around 20 people turned on him. Gunasekar said the group had been yelling pro-Hindu slogans.