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Video of women protecting protester from Indian police goes viral

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The group of Muslim women surrounded a male student to protect him from being attacked by riot police in New Delhi

NEW DELHI: A group of Muslim women who formed a barricade around a male student being attacked by baton-swinging police have become symbols of the protests currently gripping India.

In a video that has gone viral, the four young women rush to surround the young man as police in riot gear thrash at him with 2m-long bamboo sticks known as lathi.

They then point their fingers at the officers and shout, "Police go back, go back", during the incident in New Delhi on Sunday.

The protests, which raged for another day yesterday, follow the passing by Parliament last week of legislation making it easier for people from three neighbouring countries to get Indian citizenship.

Excluded though are Muslims, in what Islamic groups, the opposition and rights groups say is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda to remould India as a Hindu nation, something he denies.


One of the women, history student Ayesha Renna, 22, told Indian media: "We don't have any fear of this government, the police or anyone."

The violence intensified yesterday as police fired tear gas at protesters in India's capital as tens of thousands rallied around the country.

In Muslim-populated areas of Delhi on Wednesday, buses and a police outpost were torched and tear gas filled streets as thousands of protesters hurled stones at police in Seelampur district in the latest violence to hit the capital.

Tens of thousands more rallied in Kolkata, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu states on a sixth day. In Kolkata, more than 20,000 protesters joined a fresh march led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a fierce critic of Mr Modi.

Ms Banerjee told the crowd the law would not be implemented "for as long as I am alive".

In the north-eastern state of Assam, the epicentre of the protests where four people died after being shot by police, a curfew imposed in some regions was lifted early yesterday. - AFP