The death toll from the worst religious violence in Delhi, India in decades has risen to 21, as Muslims fled from their homes and several mosques in the capital were burnt down after being attacked by Hindu mobs.
The deadly clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups that began on Sunday showed no sign of slowing down on the third consecutive day.
More than 200 people were admitted to hospitals for injuries which ranged from gunshot wounds, to acid burns, stabbings and wounds from beatings and stone pelting. Several of those who died had jumped from high buildings to escape the attacking mobs.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal described the situation as “alarming” and said the army should be called to take control of the violence.
“Situation alarming,” he said in a “tweet. “Police, despite all its efforts, unable to control situation and instil confidence Army should be called in and curfew imposed in rest of affected areas immediately.”
It was one of the bloodiest days of protest in India since Modi’s government passed a new citizenship amendment act, which grants citizenship to refugees of every major South Asian religion except Muslims, in December.
The law sparked a nationwide backlash over fears the law is discriminatory towards Muslims and demonstrations have continued across India for the past three months.
The violence in Delhi escalated after Kapil Mishra, leader from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reportedly incited a Hindu mob to violently remove a group of Muslims who were blocking a road in north-west Delhi in protest against the citizenship act. Groups on both sides began throwing stones and attacking each other, leading to an escalation of violence.