New Delhi: In wake of the ongoing protests across India, particularly in the Northeastern states over the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the United States government has temporarily suspended official travel to Assam. It has also issued a travel advisory, asking its citizens to ‘exercise caution’ while travelling to northeastern states of India. It has also directed the US nationals residing in the northeastern states of India to avoid areas with demonstrations and civil disturbances and to keep a ‘low profile’.
“US citizens in the northeastern states of India should exercise caution in light of media reports of protests and violence in response to the approval of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Government curfews are in place in some areas. Internet and mobile communications may be disrupted. Transport may be affected in various parts of the region. Protests have also been reported in other parts of the country. the statement read.
“Avoid areas with demonstrations and civil disturbances. Keep a low profile. Be aware of your surroundings. Monitor local media for updates. Review your personal security plans. Notify friends and family of your safety. Follow the instructions of local authorities,” the advisory added.
UK, France and Israel had also issued a similar traffic advisories for their citizens planning to visit northeast India. The United Kingdom in its directive has asked its nationals to exercise caution if they are planning to travel in Northeast India.
“Transport may be affected in various parts of the region. You should exercise caution if you’re planning to travel in Northeast India, monitor local media for the latest information, follow instructions of the local authorities and allow more time for travel,” the UK government stated Over 9,40,000 British nationals visited India in 2017. Most visits are trouble-free, it said.
Similarly, the foreign ministry of Israel warned its citizens to completely avoid going to the state of Assam because of “violent riots with an ethnic background stopping traffic and flights and disrupting internet and phone services.”
France has also alerted its citizens to follow the news, instructions and rules put in place by the Indian authorities.
Notably, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent to it, has triggered protests in the country, especially in Assam, where curfew has been imposed in some areas. As per the Act, members of the Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014, and were facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and granted Indian citizenship.
Yesterday, the outrage against the CAB spread to national capital Delhi after which an ugly agitation was witnessed at the Jamia Millia Islamia University.The protest at the varsity turned into a battlefield after protesting students were stopped by the Police.The students, who were baton-charged by police personnel, alleged that the cops also used tear gas to quell their march. The students also resorted to stone-pelting. Reports claimed that 50 students were detained.