TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The Indian authorities should cease using unnecessary lethal force against demonstrators protesting a law that discriminates against Muslims, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

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“Indian police, in many areas, have been cracking down on anti-citizenship law protests with force, including unnecessary deadly force,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director, according to HRW’s official website.

“The authorities should prosecute violent protesters, but they also need to hold police officers to account for using excessive force.”

Since protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act began on December 12, 2019, at least 25 people have been killed and hundreds have been arrested.

Police have used excessive force only against demonstrators protesting the law, including many students. All the deaths have occurred in states governed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Most of those killed have been Muslims, including an 8-year-old boy in Uttar Pradesh. Scores of police officers have been injured. The authorities have also used a colonial-era law, internet shutdowns, and limits on public transportation to prevent peaceful anti-citizenship law protests.

The police have, however, not interfered with demonstrators supporting the law, including ruling party leaders who have advocated violence, HRW said.