By: Nadeemy Haded

The death toll from violent demonstrations rocking various regions of India in protest against a new law against Muslims has risen to 23, despite government measures to maintain control of the situation.

Praveen Kumar, police spokesman for the northern Uttar Pradesh state, confirmed that nine people, most of them young men, were killed on Saturday by clashes between protesters and security forces, denying police responsibility for these deaths.

The spokesman acknowledged that a number of these victims were killed by live bullets, stressing that the security forces used only tear gas against the protesters.

Police indicated that about a dozen cars were set on fire in the northern cities of the state, which is one of several Indian regions where the authorities imposed a law dating back to the British colonial era, and it prohibits the gathering of more than four people.

The Associated Press reported that elements of the anti-terrorist forces were deployed in the state, with the suspension of internet services extended for an additional 48 hours, in an attempt by the authorities to contain the social crisis the country is going through, due to the adoption of a law that allows the granting of Indian citizenship to immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan Provided they are not Muslims.

In light of these extremely tense conditions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to deliver a speech on Sunday in front of a gathering of his Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata, in the capital, New Delhi.

A small group of supporters of the ruling party organized a march in the capital today, in conjunction with calls from the opposition to demonstrate throughout the city during Modi's speech.

Source: Associated Press

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