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Erdogan denounces 'massacres' committed against Muslims in India

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Ankara, Turkey   /   Thu, February 27, 2020   /   08:47 pm
Erdogan denounces 'massacres' committed against Muslims in India A student member of the Campus Front of India is taken into police custody while resisting arrest for protesting in the prohibited, high security zone near the Karnataka Governor's house, also known as the Raj Bhavan, in Bangalore on February 27, 2020. The students were protesting against the recent unrest in wake of violent clashes between protesters and supporters of India's controversial citizenship law in New Delhi that have claimed so far claimed lives of 33 people in the capital in the past four days. (AFP/Manjunath Kiran)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit out Thursday against "massacres" of Muslims in India after communal riots in New Delhi left at least 33 dead.

"India right now has become a country where massacres are widespread. What massacres? Massacres of Muslims. By who? Hindus," Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara after violence broke out this week between mobs of Hindus and Muslims over a citizenship law.

Over 200 people were injured and 33 killed since late Sunday in clashes that saw mobs of Hindus and Muslims fight running battles, armed with swords and guns. Thousands of properties and vehicles were touched in the violence.

According to a document seen by AFP the victims are a roughly even mix of Hindus and Muslims, based on their names.

Erdogan, a devout Muslim, sees himself as a defender of Islam, often taking public stands on issues concerning the faith and its followers. 

He accused the mobs attacking Muslims of hurting children studying in private tuition centres with "metal sticks as if to kill" them.

"How will these people make global peace possible? It is impossible. When making speeches -- since they have a large population -- they say 'we are strong' but that is not strength," Erdogan added.

The unrest is the latest bout of violence over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's citizenship law, which triggered months of demonstrations that turned deadly in December.

Critics say Modi wants to turn the officially secular country into a Hindu state.

Many of the 200 million Muslims in India fear the citizenship law -- combined with a mooted citizens' register -- will leave them stateless or even sent to detention camps.