Travelers from the US, UK, Canada, and other countries are being warned by their governments to avoid visiting northeast India. Violent demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Bill are making the area unsafe; several demonstrators were killed and cars, buses, and railway stations have been set on fire.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill is a controversial new law that fast tracks the citizenship process for religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, including Hindus and Sikhs, but not Muslims.
The US Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council advises that “U.S. 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 U.S. government has temporarily suspended official travel to Assam.”
In the UK, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised “against all but essential travel to the state of Manipur […] There have been violent protests including in Delhi, Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. Internet and mobile services have been suspended in parts of Assam and West Bengal. Curfews have been imposed in some areas and transport has been affected.”
The New York Times reported that the demonstrations are spreading to Bhopal, Jaipur, Ladakh, Kerala, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Lucknow. Travelers to India should be extremely vigilant.
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