Thousands of riot police and paramilitaries patrol streets littered with the debris from days of religious riots in capital New Delhi as families mourn deaths and property destruction.
Tensions remained high in India's capital Thursday, as thousands of riot police and paramilitaries patrolled streets littered with the debris from days of communal riots that have killed 38 people.
An uneasy calm has descended over the affected northeast fringes of the Indian capital, punctuated by sporadic outbreaks of violence overnight.
The unrest was the latest bout of violence over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's citizenship law, which triggered months of demonstrations that turned deadly in December.
Sunil Kumar, director of the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, said Thursday it had registered 34 deaths, adding that "all of them had gunshot injuries".
The chief doctor at Lok Nayak Hospital said three people had died there. Another victim died at Jag Parvesh Chander Hospital, an official said.
Kishore Singh, medical superintendent at Lok Nayak Hospital, told AFP 10 people were still in a serious condition.
Delhi's chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said families of those who died, were injured or had their businesses and homes destroyed during the rampage would be compensated.
Food and other support would also be provided to trashed neighbourhoods, he added.
Police said they had detained or arrested more than 500 suspects for questioning, and had also starting holding "peace committee meetings" across the megacity to "improve inter-community harmony".
The new fatalities –– up from 27 on Wednesday –– were all from the violence on Monday and Tuesday when mobs of Hindus and Muslims fought running battles.
Homes, shops, two mosques, two schools, a tyre market and a fuel station were torched.
More than 200 people were also injured.
"No major incident of violence was reported from anywhere in the affected areas" overnight Wednesday to Thursday, Mandeep Randhawa, Delhi police spokesperson said.
"Some distress calls were made and the force provided immediate assistance," he said.
The initial violence erupted late Sunday after Hindu groups objected to Muslims holding a street demonstration over the citizenship law.
Mobs armed with swords and guns set fire to thousands of properties, including a mosque and a shrine, and vehicles. Local media reported the police did nothing to stop the violence.
In December at least 30 people were killed, mostly in police action in northern Uttar Pradesh state, a part of the country with a significant Muslim population.
Many Muslims believe the citizenship law, in combination with a mooted citizens' register, will leave them stateless and is part of a plan by Modi's right-wing ruling party to turn officially secular India into a Hindu nation.
His party has denied the allegations but in recent weeks members have called protesters "anti-nationals" and "jihadists", with some calling for them to be jailed or even shot dead.
US 'politicising' riots
Also on Thursday, India accused a US government commission of politicising communal violence in New Delhi, a day after US Commission on International Religious Freedom said it was deeply troubled by the violence in New Delhi.
"The government is failing in its duty to protect its citizens," Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said. "The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue."
India’s External Affairs Ministry said the commission's comments were "factually inaccurate and misleading" and appeared to be "aimed at politicising the issue."
A US government commission on Wednesday faulted India's response to deadly communal riots in New Delhi and urged the government to take swift action to protect the Muslim minority who were targeted as US President Donald Trump visited the country.
Erdogan slams 'massacres'
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a dig at the Indian government on Thursday, saying India has become a country where "massacres" are being committed against Muslims.
"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.
"How will these people [India] maintain world peace. It's impossible," he said in his speech at governing AK Party headquarters. "When making speeches –– since they have a large population –– they say 'we are strong' but that is not strength."
The criticism stands in contrast to the reticence of the Trump administration.
Trump, asked at a news conference in New Delhi about the violence, said the issue was "up to India" and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "incredible" statements on religious freedom.
The two leaders of the US Senate's pro-India caucus, Republican John Cornyn and Democrat Mark Warner, in a joint statement, voiced support for the close US ties represented by Trump's visit but added: "At the same time, we are alarmed by the recent violence in New Delhi."
Representative Pramila Jayapal, an Indian-born left-leaning Democrat who has been outspoken in her criticism of Modi, called the developments "horrifying."
"Democracies should not tolerate division and discrimination, or promote laws that undermine religious freedom. The world is watching," she wrote on Twitter.
Modi's government has previously vowed to weed out "infiltrators" from India, with Home Minister Amit Shah likening undocumented immigrants to "termites."
The Indian foreign ministry previously reprimanded the US Commission for International Religious Freedom for denouncing the citizenship law.
The commission also plans a public hearing next week on how citizenship laws, including in India and Myanmar, are used to target religious minorities.