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27 Feb 2020 | 09:03 AM UTC

India: Death toll in Delhi rises to 32 February 27 /update 39

Death toll rises to 32 as calm is restored to Delhi amid heavy police presence February 27; further protests possible over the near term

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IND

Event

The death toll in Delhi has risen to at least 32 as of Thursday, February 27, following three consecutive days of violent clashes between pro- and anti-CAA protesters. According to the Delhi police spokesman, additional security forces were deployed to northeast Delhi, where the majority of the violence took place, and the "entire area is peaceful now."

Schools in the Delhi area remain closed as of Thursday, and emergency laws under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prohibit assemblies of three or more people are still in place in northeastern Delhi.

A heightened security presence and disruptions to transportation, business, and telecommunications are to be expected in the area over the coming hours and days. Further protests and violent clashes cannot be ruled out.

Context

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. In conjunction with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), activists claim that it specifically seeks to target Indian Muslims. The NRC aims to identify illegal immigrants by requiring individuals to prove their citizenship based on specific documentation prior to a certain cut-off date. On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the NRC will be implemented nationwide. Opponents of the CAA argue that it isolates Muslim Indians by favoring all non-Muslim religious minorities who may fail to qualify for the NRC but will nonetheless be assured citizenship. The CAA has also received opposition - particularly in several northeastern states - due to fears that it will encourage an influx of immigrants that will affect the ethnic balance.

India's supreme court refused to strike down the law on January 22, prompting further protests. At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, and police officers have arrested hundreds of demonstrators since December 11.

Advice

Individuals in India are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations as violence may flare up without warning, and prepare for widespread disruptions to transportation, business, and telecommunications in protest-affected areas. If a demonstration is organized without warning, individuals are advised to refrain from crossing roadblocks, take shelter in a safe place, and avoid taking pictures. Travelers should adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities (especially if curfews are enforced) and their home governments.