No room for 'intruders' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 10, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:01 AM, February 10, 2019

No room for 'intruders'

Says Modi as nude protest, black flags greet him in Assam

  • Indian PM warns misinformation being spread over citizenship bill
  • China protests his visit to Arunachal Pradesh 

 

Amid intense resistance over the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday emphasised that there is no room for "intruders" in Assam as well as the country.

The PM also accused those who "destroyed the country", "betrayed Assam" and who weren't honest about implementing the Assam Accord of spreading misinformation about the bill. Whereas his government, Modi said, is committed towards safeguarding the rights and interests of the people of the northeast.

Meanwhile, a second day of protests yesterday tainted Modi's visit to northeast India.

Protesters waved black flags and burned effigies of the Hindu nationalist PM while some students staged a nude protest outside the state government complex in the Assam capital of Guwahati. Media reports said the nude protesters were detained while Assam student groups said police baton charged another group of activists.

Black flag protests -- considered a strong insult -- greeted Modi when he arrived in Guwahati on Friday night to start the tour of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura ahead of national election.

His nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has faced a severe backlash in the region over a proposed change to a 1955 citizenship act which would give Indian nationality to Hindus and other minorities who have fled the neighbouring Muslim countries.The bill is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha soon.

While groups in Assam want to block all outsiders, human rights activists have condemned the government law for not covering Muslims. They say it will be the first time religion has been a criteria for nationality in India, which is officially secular.

Last year the Assam government released the first draft of a state citizens' register that rejected four million mainly Muslim residents who were unable to prove they were living in the state before 1971, when millions fled Bangladesh's war of independence.

Meanwhile, China's foreign ministry yesterday condemned Modi's visit to the disputed northeastern border state of Arunachal Pradesh, saying it "resolutely opposes" activities by Indian leaders in the region, reported Reuters.

In response, the official spokesperson at India's foreign ministry said in a statement that Arunachal Pradesh was "an integral and inalienable part of India".

"Indian leaders visit Arunachal Pradesh from time to time, as they visit other parts of India. This consistent position has been conveyed to the Chinese side on several occasions," the statement said.

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