The governments of the USA, Singapore and Canada have all asked its citizens to avoid travelling to Assam and the North East of India as violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act continue. This comes days after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom issued a similar travel advisory asking their citizens to “exercise caution” while travelling to the region for any purpose. 

The Australian government has also asked its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution while travelling to India due to the protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. A bigoted new citizenship law that privileges non-muslims over Muslim migrants – coupled with the government’s proposal to create a National Register of Citizens (NCR) – has unleashed a set of forces over which the government may no longer have much control.  

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This advisory mostly stated that “demonstrations against new citizenship legislation are taking place in the northeastern stated of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. These are violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces. Local authorities have imposed curfews in some areas and other movement restrictions may be put in place without notice. Internet service has been suspended in some areas. Expect transportation disruptions, including flight delays and cancellations”. 

Other countries that have issued advisories against India include Saudi Arabia, which has cautioned its citizens “to exercise caution due to the ongoing protests in the northeast Indian states,” and the UAE which encouraged citizens “to stay alert and away from the places of protests”.

CAA Protests Spread Across India

According to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan up to December 31, 2014, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but will be given Indian citizenship.

It excludes Muslims from this provision. A large minority in India, Muslims have been a target of the Modi-led BJP government, and the recent attacks by police appears to have crystalised a wider feeling of unease about the direction of the world’s largest democracy. 

However, the police say the crackdown was in response to rack-throwing and violence on the part of the demonstrators, who they accused of burning a bus and other property damage. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday termed the violent protests across the country against the CAA as “unfortunate and rumour-mongering” and advised to not let “vested interests” divide the society.

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