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India rejects criticism by OIC as Erdogan slams 'massacres' of Muslims

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation calls on New Delhi to protect Muslim minorities following communal violence
Relatives of Mohammad Mudasir, 31, who died in the recent sectarian riots, mourn during his funeral in New Delhi (AFP)

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday rejected criticism from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) over recent communal riots in New Delhi that have left at least 33 dead as irresponsible and inaccurate. 

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

The law makes non-Muslim persecuted religious minorities from some neighbouring countries eligible for fast-tracked citizenship.

Muslims fear the law will leave them stateless or even sent to detention camps.

India sends a signal to Muslims: You are no longer welcome

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

In a Twitter post on Thursday, the OIC called on the Indian government to protect Muslim minorities across the country.

“The OIC condemns the recent and alarming violence against Muslims in India, resulting in the death and injury of innocent people and the arson and vandalism of mosques and Muslim-owned properties," said the tweet.

"It expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these heinous acts.

“The OIC calls on Indian authorities to bring the instigators and perpetrators of these acts of anti-Muslim violence to justice and to ensure the safety and security of all its Muslim citizens and the protection of Islamic holy places across the country.”

In response, Raveesh Kumar, an MEA spokesperson, said India was taking all measures to contain the violence and restore normalcy.

Kumar added that the OIC has made insensitive comments in the past and has tried to comment on India's internal affairs.

Muslims fearful

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, hit out on Thursday against the "massacres" of Muslims in the Indian capital.

"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.

India’s ‘anti-Muslim’ citizenship bill

More than 200 people have been wounded and 33 killed since late on Sunday in clashes that saw mobs of Hindus and Muslims fight running battles, armed with swords and guns. 

Thousands of properties and vehicles were torched in the violence.

Erdogan, who sees himself as a defender of Islam, often takes public stands on issues concerning the Muslim 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.

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

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