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Japanese PM cancels visit to India as violence rages over Citizenship Act

Amit Shah's visit to Shillong and Arunachal also stands cancelled

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Amit Shah at Parliament to pay tribute to the martyrs of 2001 Parliament attack on its 18th anniversary in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
Amit Shah at Parliament to pay tribute to the martyrs of 2001 Parliament attack on its 18th anniversary in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

The visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India for an annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was to be held in Guwahati, was on Friday cancelled.

Guwahati, the capital of Assam, and several parts of the Northeast have seen violent protests since Thursday against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh on Sunday and Monday also stands cancelled in view of the protests. Shah was scheduled to take part in the passing-out parade at North Eastern Police Academy near Shillong on Sunday and a festival in Tawang the next day.

The parliamentary standing committee on home affairs also cancelled its planned field visit to the region. The visit was scheduled for December 18 to 21.

According to a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs, “both sides have decided to defer” the Japanese PM’s visit for the December 15-17 summit to a mutually convenient date. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar did not specify the reasons for the cancellation of the visit.

The cancellation of the Japanese PM’s trip came a day after Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan called off their visits to India following the enactment of the controversial law.

Diplomatic sources said the Japanese government conveyed to New Delhi that it would not be possible for Abe to travel to Guwahati in view of large-scale protests in the region. They said the summit is now expected to take place next year. Sources said an alternative venue was not considered as hosting a leadership-level summit involves long preparations.

The summit is held in India and Japan in turns. A Japanese team visited Guwahati on Wednesday to take stock of the preparations.

At least two people were killed in police firing in Assam, following widespread protests against the contentious act, which was given the presidential assent Thursday night. Curfew has been imposed at several places in Assam, while the Army has carried out flag marches in many districts to control protests and violence. Protesters torched several vehicles and shops in Shillong in past two days.

The choice of Guwahati was part of Modi’s efforts in the past five years to take high-profile diplomatic visits outside the national capital to other cities. In his earlier visits, Abe has been to Ahmedabad and Varanasi. Chinese President Xi Jinping has been hosted in Ahmedabad and Chennai.

In recent years, Japan has increased its investments in infrastructure and development work in Assam. The Japanese PM was also likely to visit a memorial to Japanese soldiers killed during World War II in Manipur.

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Satras urge to hoist black flags

The heads of Satras, the Vaishnavite socio-cultural centres of Assam, hit the streets on Friday demanding repeal of the amended and urged people to hoist black flags in front of their houses in protest against it. The Satradhikar of Auniati Satra, Pitambar Deva Goswami led the agitation the Assembly seat of CM Sarbananda Sonowal. - PTI

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Ensure strict checking of ILPs: CM

In view of the volatile situation in neighbouring Assam over the protests against the amended Citizenship Act, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Friday directed state officials to ensure strict checking of Inner Line Permits (ILP) in check gates across the state. - PTI

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No place for in Maharashtra: Cong minister

The Congress will not let the amended get implemented in Maharashtra, state minister Nitin Raut asserted on Friday and said CM Uddhav Thackeray will cooperate with the national party on the sensitive issue. Thackeray's party Shiv Sena is heading the coalition government in Maharashtra, where the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP are the other ruling alliance constituents. - PTI

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Stalin’s son detained for protest

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) youth wing leader Udhayanidhi Stalin and scores of party workers were detained on Friday when they tried to stage a road blockade in Chennai while holding a protest against the Citizenship Act, police said. Udhayanidhi, son of DMK president M K Stalin, led the protest at Saidapet. - PTI

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TMC MP Mahua Moitra moves Supreme Court against Act

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra moved the Supreme Court on Friday challenging the amended Citizenship Act, according to which members of non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan facing religious persecution there will be given Indian citizenship. - PTI

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Leader to implead in IUML plea

Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala on Friday said he would implead himself in the plea filed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a partner of the Congress-led United Democratic Front, in the Supreme Court challenging the Citizenship Act. The Act is a violation of the Constitution and the people of the state were against it, Chennithala told reporters here. “The bill is a violation of secular principles enshrined in the Constitution. As opposition leader, I will implead (myself) in the case filed by IUML,” the congress leader said. - PTI

First Published: Fri, December 13 2019. 23:45 IST
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