New Delhi: Amid protests in northeastern states of India against the amended Citizenship Act, many countries including US, UK, France and Canada have issued travel advisories for their citizens asking them to "exercise caution" while travelling to the region.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday gave his assent to it, has triggered protests in the country, especially in Assam, where curfew has been imposed in some areas.
"Demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) are taking place in some parts of the country. There have been reports of violent protest in North East India, especially in Assam and Tripura. An indefinite curfew has been imposed in Guwahati (Assam) and mobile internet services have been suspended in 10 districts of Assam. Transport may be affected in various parts of the region. You should exercise caution if you're planning to travel in North East India, monitor local media for the latest information, follow instructions of the local authorities and allow more time for travel," said the UK' Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in a statement.
Likewise, the US Embassy has 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.
According to the Act, members of the Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian 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.
The French government has also suspended air transport and asked its citizens to "stay away" from gathering.
"Following the voted on new Citizenship Law (CAB), general strikes, demonstrations and scuffles with the police broke out in several cities in the states of Assam and Tripura. Air Transport to Assam is suspended for the moment. It is recommended to stay away from any gathering to regularly follow the news and to records of the Indian authorities," it added.
Similarly, Canada has also asked its citizens to exercise caution and advised them to "check with your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will affect your travel plans".