9 killed in India protests, total deaths rise to 23

Tim O'Donnell

The death toll during India's nationwide protests against a new citizenship law implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government rose to 23 after nine people died Saturday during clashes between demonstrators and police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

The majority of the dead are "young people," but the police are saying they have only used tear gas and that the deaths and injuries, despite being attributed to bullets, are not the results of police fire. Uttar Pradesh is controlled by Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Police are cracking down on the protests and arresting demonstrators across the country.

The law that sparked the unrest allows religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens if they can show they were victims of persecution, but critics argue the law is a violation of India's secular constitution and attempts to marginalize Muslims, who would not be eligible for citizenship under the law. Read more at The Associated Press.

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