IMAGE: A demonstrator burns tyres on National Highway 17 during a protest rally against Citizenship Act, at Boko in Kamrup district of Assam, on Friday. Photograph: PTI Photo
The United States has issued a travel advisory for its citizens to ‘exercise caution’ while travelling to the states in North East India and the US government has temporarily suspended ‘official travel’ to Assam, amid massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
In a statement on Friday, the US Embassy also listed out precautions for its citizens currently staying in the northeastern states advising them 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 US government has temporarily suspended official travel to Assam,’ 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.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday gave his assent to it.
With the government putting its weight behind it, the Bill sailed through both the Houses of Parliament.
The Citizenship Amendment Act has triggered protests in the country, especially in Assam, where curfew has been imposed in some areas.
According to the Act, members of the Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi 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.
According to an official notification, the Act will not apply to the ‘tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the area covered under ‘The Inner Line’ notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.’
Currently, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur fall under the Inner Line Permit (ILP). These areas require Indians from other states to get ‘ILP’ to enter or pass through them.