Amid violent protests over the Citizenship Bill across Assam and other northeastern states, the External Affairs Ministry has not given any clarity on whether the government will go ahead with the planned India-Japan annual summit, scheduled to be held from December 15-17 in Guwahati. "We don't have any update to share," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a weekly media briefing while replying to a volley of questions on the issue.
The violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB in Assam has put Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s annual summit with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in limbo. Although the MEA has refused to given any clarity, it is learned that the central government has already started working on "plan B" for the Japanese prime minister's visit.
The state of Assam is burning over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to illegal non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bill, which was already passed by the Lok Sabha, cleared the Rajya Sabha hurdle on Wednesday.
The protesters vandalised posters of the India-Japan summit and set aflame the makeshift stage that had been constructed for the event in Guwahati. According to sources, Delhi’s Hyderabad House is being considered as an alternative venue for the Modi-Abe summit.
On Thursday, the police shot dead at least two of the Assamese persons who were protesting against the Citizenship Bill. Scores others were also injured in the police firing on protesters in Guwahati. The anti-CAB protesters clashed with the police and set afire several government vehicles.
It is being said that the magnitude of the protests is the same as the violent six-year movement that resulted in the signing of the Assam accord in 1985. The protesters attacked the house of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. They also pelted stones at the houses of Union minister Rameswar Teli and several other BJP leaders.