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17 Feb, 2020 08:47

Hiding slums ahead of Trump visit portrays him as EMPEROR & shows Indians' 'SLAVE MENTALITY' – newspaper

Hiding slums ahead of Trump visit portrays him as EMPEROR & shows Indians' 'SLAVE MENTALITY' – newspaper

An Indian Hindu party has lashed out at government plans to hide slums behind a wall along the route Donald Trump's motorcade will take during his visit, likening preparations to those for British royals during colonial times.

Authorities in Ahmedabad are planning to erect a wall that would make local slums invisible for Trump and his entourage once they arrive in the city on February 24. The US president is set to attend a roadshow with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and will inaugurate a new cricket stadium.

However, the preparations have unnerved members of Shiv Sena, a Marathi Hindu nationalist party, whose mouthpiece newspaper hit out at the plans to hide poverty.

Such efforts portray the visiting US president as "badshah," or an emperor, the paper pointed out.

"Before independence, [the] British King or Queen used to visit one of their slave nations like India. The kind of preparations going on from taxpayers' money for the arrival of Trump is similar to it. This reflects the slave mentality of Indians," read an editorial in 'Saamana.'

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"We have heard Trump is going to be in Ahmedabad for only three hours but the wall construction is costing almost Rs100 crore [$1.5 million] to the state exchequer," the paper stated.

The paper also took a swipe at Modi’s party, claiming that the famous “remove poverty” slogan by Indira Gandhi is being replaced with “hide poverty.” During his first visit to India as US president, Trump will make stops in New Delhi and Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Modi and Mahatma Gandhi.

Ahmedabad itself is preparing a red-carpet welcome for the American leader, setting up a grand event called “Kem Chho Trump” (How are you, Trump?), India’s answer to last year’s massive “Howdy, Modi” gathering in Houston, Texas.

Despite the bromance between Modi and Trump, US-India ties are far from perfect. Washington recently removed New Delhi from a program allowing for duty-free entry of up to $5.6bn of annual exports to the US, with India imposing retaliatory tariffs.

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The US is also threatening sanctions over India’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense systems. New Delhi vehemently rejects the pressure, insisting that it is up to a sovereign nation to decide such matters on its own.

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