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Violent Protests Erupt in New Delhi Over India’s New Citizenship Law

Protesters run for cover amid tear gas fired by police during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, New Delhi, Dec. 13, 2019.

Police in India’s capital clashed Friday with hundreds of students protesting against a new citizenship law that opponents say is anti-Muslim.

Police fired tear gas and used batons against the demonstrators at Jamia Millia Islamia, a public university in New Delhi. The protesting students threw stones at police.

Protests also continued Friday in the northeastern state of Assam, where demonstrations first broke out Wednesday after India's upper house of Parliament passed the citizenship bill.

Nearly 10,000 protesters held a daylong hunger strike Friday in the state capital of Gauhati.

On Thursday, police in Assam fatally shot two demonstrators and injured 24 others after protesters ignored a curfew.

The violence in the state led Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday to announce that he was postponing a summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that had been planned to take place in Assam and Manipur states.

India’s new citizenship law grants Indian citizenship for six religious groups from neighboring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan including Hindus and Christians, but not Muslims.

Critics argue that the law discriminates against Muslims and violates the country’s secular constitution.

Protesters in Assam have also expressed concern that migrants will move to the border region and that the new law would convert thousands of illegal immigrants into legal residents.

Challenges to the law have been filed with India’s Supreme Court.