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Japan’s Abe scraps one-on-one with PM Modi as unrest flares up in India’s Assam over citizenship bill

Japan’s Abe scraps one-on-one with PM Modi as unrest flares up in India’s Assam over citizenship bill
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe postponed a meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Assam after locals in the northeastern state defied a curfew and staged violent rallies over the new citizenship bill.

Tokyo and New Delhi have decided “to defer the visit to a mutually convenient date in the near future,” according to Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry. Abe and Modi intended to meet on December 15 in Guwahati, Assam’s main city, but the lingering unrest threw a wrench into the plans.

As part of the visit, the two leaders were expected to discuss Japan’s investment in Assam, a culturally diverse tea-growing state of India. In turn, Abe had also intended to visit a memorial site in the adjacent state of Manipur where Japanese soldiers were killed during the Second World War.

Rallies in Assam broke out on Wednesday night on the back of the recent citizenship bill. It offers an easy way to obtain Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities – Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jain, and Parsis – from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.


The bill does not include Muslims in the six religious groups, which prompted Muslims in Assam to voice their anger on the streets. Two people were killed in Guwahati where crowds ignored a curfew and clashed with police and security forces.

Taking to Twitter Prime Minister Modi assured people in Assam that “no one can take away their rights, unique identity and beautiful culture.”

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