India’s new citizenship law is “fundamentally discriminatory” in nature and does not offer Muslims the same protection as other minorities, the UN human rights office said on Friday.

“The amended law would appear to undermine the commitment to equality before the law enshrined in India’s constitution and India’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to which India is a State party, which prohibit discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious grounds,” Jeremy Laurence, spokesman for the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office, said in Geneva.

“Although India’s broader naturalisation laws remain in place, these amendments will have a discriminatory effect on people’s access to nationality,” he said.

The spokesman said that all migrants, regardless of their migration status, are entitled to respect, protection, and fulfillment of their human rights.

He noted that India endorsed the Global Compact for Safe, Regular, and Orderly Migration just a year ago. “While the goal of protecting persecuted groups is welcome, this should be done through a robust national asylum system that is premised on the principle of equality and non-discrimination, and which applies to all people in need of protection from persecution and other human rights violations, with no distinction as to race, religion, national origin or other prohibited grounds,” Laurence said.

“We understand the new law will be reviewed by the Supreme Court of India and hope it will consider carefully the compatibility of the law with India’s international human rights obligations.”

“In the meantime,” the spokesman added, “we are concerned at reports that two people have died and many including police officers have been injured in the Indian states of Assam and Tripura as people protest against the Act. We call on the authorities to respect the right to peaceful assembly, and to abide by international norms and standards on the use of force when responding to protests. All sides should refrain from resorting to violence.”

Meanwhile, violent clashes erupted in Delhi between police and hundreds of university students on Friday over the enactment of the new citizenship law.  The unrest has already led Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to cancel a planned visit to India from Sunday.

The new law offers a way to Indian citizenship for six minority religious groups from neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan including Hindus and Christians, but not Muslims. Police fired tear gas and used baton charges to disperse scores of students demonstrating at Jamia Millia Islamia university in the heart of Delhi over the law. Protesters attacked cars in the capital, and several people were injured and taken to hospital.

Zakir Riyaz, a PhD student in social work, said the new law made a mockery of India’s religious openness. “It goes against the whole idea of a secular India,” he said, speaking by phone from the Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi where 15 of his fellow students were admitted after being injured in a police baton charge.

Police barricades were knocked down and streets were strewn with shoes and broken bricks. An official at the university dispensary said that more than 100 students had been brought in with injuries but all had been discharged.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a trip to Assam for a summit with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that had been due to begin on Sunday.

Japan has stepped up infrastructure development work in Assam in recent years, which the two sides were expected to highlight during the summit. Abe had also planned to visit a memorial in the nearby state of Manipur where Japanese soldiers were killed in World War Two.

“With reference to the proposed visit of Japanese PM @AbeShinzo to India, both sides have decided to defer the visit to a mutually convenient date in the near future,” Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said both countries would decide on the appropriate timing for the visit although nothing has been decided yet.

A movement against immigrants from Bangladesh has raged in Assam for decades. Protesters there say granting Indian nationality to more people will further strain the state’s resources and lead to the marginalisation of indigenous communities.