Published: Sun, December 15, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

USA issues travel alert for citizens amid protests over Citizenship Amendment Act

USA issues travel alert for citizens amid protests over Citizenship Amendment Act

"Internet and mobile communications may be disrupted", the official advisory issued by US Embassy and Consulates in India read.

An advisory issued by the American embassy on Friday stated that the USA citizens should "exercise caution in light of media reports of protests and violence in response to the approval of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill". The Israeli government asked its citizens not to travel to Assam and to cut short visits to the region.

Indefinite curfew under Tezpur and Dhekiajuli police station areas in Sonitpur district was also relaxed from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs, Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner Manabendra Pratap Singh said. "The US government has temporarily suspended official travel to Assam", the release further added.

The United Kingdom and Canada also issued a similar advisory.

Violent protests against the newly-enacted citizenship law continued to rock the North-East states and spread to West Bengal, Delhi and parts of south India, Friday, with police resorting to lathicharge and tear gas shells to contain protesters.

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Activists say the new law violates the country's Constitution and secular standards, and human rights observers internationally have expressed concern that it will have a discriminatory effect against Muslims in the country.

The law offers a route to Indian citizenship for six persecuted minority religious groups from neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan including Hindus and Christians, but not Muslims. The cut-off date is December 31, 2014.

Tensions simmered in Guwahati in Assam state, the epicentre of the unrest, where medical staff said two people were shot dead and 26 hospitalised late Thursday after security forces fired live rounds.

Islamic groups, the opposition and rights organisations say the law is a part of Modi's Hindu nationalist agenda to marginalise India's 200 million Muslims. People in the northeastern states fear granting of citizenship to immigrants would endanger their status.

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