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6 more Indians killed in fresh protests against citizenship law

Fresh clashes have erupted between Indian police forces and people protesting against a contentious citizenship law seen as anti-Muslim, leaving six people dead and bringing the overall death toll from the unrest to 14.

The five protesters died of “gunshot wounds” in the northern Uttar Pradesh State — where nearly 20 percent of India’s 200-million-strong population are Muslim — on Friday, said chief medical officer of Meerut, Rajkumar, who goes by one name, AFP reported.

A police spokesman also confirmed that one person had died and at least one other had been injured during protests in the city of Firozabad. But he said that the cause of death was not clear yet.

The new deaths came a day after three people lost their lives when police opened fire on protesters in the northern city of Lucknow and Mangalore City in the south of the country.

India has been engulfed by protests since last week, when the country’s parliament passed the citizenship act, which is seen as discriminatory toward Muslims.

Under the law, migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan will be allowed to claim Indian citizenship — but not if they are Muslims.

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The heart of India’s capital also witnessed street battles late Friday as police used water cannon and charged at protesters with batons.

A car was set ablaze and demonstrators were injured during the clashes at the Delhi Gate in the Old Delhi district. The battles came as thousands re-gathered at the Delhi Gate following an earlier sit-in in the same area after marching from India’s biggest mosque, Jama Masjid, in the afternoon.

“All the people [are] here, be it those who are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, or Christian — they are all out on the streets,” a protester, Tanvi Gudiya, told AFP at another rally. “So doesn’t it affect [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi at all? Does Modi not like anyone? Why is he becoming like Hitler?”

In Modi’s home state of Gujarat, fresh clashes were also reported between security forces and demonstrators in Vadodara City.

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