Japan PM might cancel India trip as protests over contentious citizenship bill cripple Assam

Posted In: News Date:Dec 13th, 2019

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering cancelling his trip to India scheduled to begin on Sunday, Jiji Press of Japan reported on Friday.

The Indian city of Guwahati, the planned venue for a summit between Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been engulfed in violent protests over a controversial citizenship law.

Violent mobs in India’s northeastern state of Assam torched buildings and clashed with police on Thursday, leaving two dead and 11 with bullet wounds, as protests grew over a new citizenship law for non-Muslim minorities from some neighboring countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has said the Citizenship Amendment Bill, approved by parliament on Wednesday, was meant to protect minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The law seeks to grants Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who fled the three countries before 2015. But thousands of protesters in the state of Assam say the measure would open the region to a flood of foreign migrants.

Others said the bigger problem with the new law was that it undermined India’s secular constitution by not offering protection to Muslims. Police in Assam’s main city of Guwahati fired bullets and tear gas as protesters demonstrated in the streets, defying a curfew imposed on Wednesday.

Ramen Talukdar, superintendent of Gauhati Medical College Hospital, said two people had died from gunshot wounds and 11 others injured, also with bullet wounds.


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