How foreign media covered communal violence in Delhi, Trump’s India visit
The Washington Post said that the Modi government has made "large strides in recent months towards its agenda of emphasizing Hindu primacy in India"; while according to the New York Times, Modi “choreographed Trump’s visit as a demonstration of India’s rising stature on the world stage, seeking to turn the page on months of street protests”.
As Delhi witnessed unprecedented communal violence over citizenship law protests that have claimed many lives, here’s how foreign media covered the deadly protests that coincided with US President Donald Trump’s two-day visit to India.
"The riots represent a serious escalation of tensions after months of protests in response to a controversial citizenship law and growing frictions between supporters and opponents of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," said the Washington Post.
“The violence was triggered by a confrontation between Hindu supporters of the citizenship law and mostly Muslim opponents. People threw stones, set fire to buildings and attacked journalists with police unwilling or unable to intervene. Critics of the citizenship law say it is unconstitutional and discriminatory,” it reported.
The daily said that amid the bloody violence between Hindus and Muslims, Trump commended Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “working very hard on religious freedom” and refused to discuss the new citizenship law, saying that the matter was “really up to India.”
“One outcome of the friendship between the two men: Trump declined to engage in anything that might be construed as criticism of Modi or his government, except on the issue of trade. The Modi government has made large strides in recent months toward its agenda of emphasizing Hindu primacy in India,” reported the Post.
The New York Times -- under an article titled, New Delhi Streets Turn Into Battleground, Hindus vs. Muslims -- said: “While President Trump and his host, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, discussed geopolitics and lunched together in another part of the capital, thousands of furious residents faced off again, hurling petrol bombs, attacking vehicles, hospitalizing several journalists and drawing more and more police officers and paramilitary troops.”
The Times’ report said: “In the Muslim quarters, many people felt victimized and accused Mr. Modi’s government of abandoning them. This is a longstanding grievance: that Mr. Modi’s governing political party, which is rooted in a Hindu-nationalist worldview, has taken sides and abetted violent religious extremists.”
The daily said that Modi “had choreographed Trump’s visit as a demonstration of India’s rising stature on the world stage, seeking to turn the page on months of street protests”.
The Guardian carried a report on the violence with the headline: “Delhi rocked by deadly protests during Donald Trump's India visit”.
“Donald Trump’s visit to Delhi has been overshadowed by deadly protests that have continued to engulf India’s capital, as Muslim and Hindu groups clashed violently and the death toll rose to 13.”
“The anti-CAA demonstrations… have been met with increasingly authoritarian measures, including incidents of mass arrests and harassment of the Muslim community and reports of torture of activists, protesters and innocent Muslim bystanders.”
BBC news headlined its report “Delhi clashes: Thirteen killed as Hindu and Muslim groups clash”. It said, “the violence has taken on religious overtones, with Hindu and Muslim groups fighting each other”.
It said that “the current unrest is an embarrassment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it has taken the spotlight away from Trump's visit”.
BBC reporters in north-east Delhi saw Hindu mobs throwing stones and shouting slogans, with some in the crowd shouting "shoot the traitors".
A CNN’s report said: “13 dead, at least 150 injured in New Delhi clashes amid Trump's visit”. The report said that “Modi has been accused of taking steps to move India away from secularism and toward a Hindu state, including the citizenship bill. Trump did not seem concerned with the specifics of those steps, saying instead that Modi wants ‘religious freedom very strongly’.”