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20 dead in riots in India, Modi calls for calm after clashes

20 dead in riots in India, Modi calls for calm after clashes
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Nearly two dozen people are dead and hundreds more injured after days of riots that have shaken India's capital following the passage of a new law that critics say is biased against Muslims.

Reuters reported Wednesday that 20 people have been killed and at least 200 people have been wounded over several days of protests in New Delhi, with some calling on the country's home minister to resign over an inability to control the protests.

At least one of those killed was a police officer, the BBC reported, adding to the criticisms facing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government over the demonstrations, which began after a law was passed making it easier for non-Muslims from neighboring countries to obtain Indian citizenship.

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Modi called for peace in an appeal via tweet.

“Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times,” Modi said in the tweet.

Protesters say that the new law is biased against India's Muslim community, which totals 180 million citizens, and those of the surrounding countries.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Tuesday called on Modi's government to get the protests under control and protect the country's Muslim minority and other religious groups from violence.

"USCIRF is alarmed by reports of deadly mob violence targeting Muslims in New Delhi, #India and urges the #Modi government to rein in mobs and protect religious minorities and others who have been targeted," the organization tweeted.