At least a dozen people were killed in New Delhi during Trump’s visit, Reuters reported, as mobs of Hindu supremacists and the police confronted Muslim protesters demonstrating against a new law that threatens their status as equal citizens, based on their religion.
Trump nevertheless hailed Modi as a champion of “religious freedom,” even as the nation was gripped by images of Muslims being beaten in the capital, with the apparent assent of the police, and video circulated online of Hindu extremists climbing the minaret of a mosque to pull down its loudspeaker and hang a flag depicting the Hindu deity Hanuman.
The Reuters correspondent Devjyot Ghoshal reported that the Delhi police even seemed to encourage mobs of Hindu supremacists to attack Muslims with rocks, and stood by as the mob lit vehicles on fire.
There was some coordination, too.
“Go ahead and throw stones,” one policeman shouted to protesters backing the law, during one of the running battles.
Why there weren't more cops immediately deployed is a little puzzling.
Asked about the law introduced by Modi’s Hindu nationalist government that sparked the protests — and opens the door to treating India’s 200 million Muslims as second-class citizens — Trump refused to condemn it. “I don’t want to discuss that,” he told a reporter. “I want to leave that to India, and hopefully they’re going to make the right decision for the people.”
As the violence intensified, Modi feted Trump with a series of lavish events apparently designed to appeal to his vanity, starting with a mass rally at a cricket stadium in Gujarat, where “Macho Man” was played in his honor.
Trump then rewarded his anti-Muslim host, and thrilled a crowd of Hindu nationalists, by saying that the United States and India were joined in a fight against “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Speaking in Ahmedabad, Trump has declared that India is America's "premier defense partner", and that the two countries are "firmly united" in their "iron clad resolve" to defend their citizens against terrorism.
Trump and Modi both attained political power by inciting hatred of Muslims. Modi was even banned from traveling to the United States for nearly a decade before he became prime minister, for his role in failing to stop a pogrom that left hundreds of Muslims dead in 2002, when he was chief minister of the state of Gujarat.
Source: The Intercept