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Nude protest, black flags greet Modi in Assam

GUWAHATI: A second day of protests on Saturday tainted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to northeast India where proposals to change a nationality law have sparked outrage.

Protesters waved black flags and burned effigies of the Hindu nationalist prime minister while some students staged a nude protest outside the state government complex in the Assam capital of Guwahati.

Black flag protests greeted Modi when he arrived in Guwahati on Friday night to start the tour of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura as he prepares to call a national election.

His nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has faced a severe backlash in the region over a proposed change to a 1955 citizenship act which would give Indian nationality to Hindus and other minorities who have fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Modi insisted that his government will ensure that the amended law does not harm Assam and neighbouring states however. Addressing one public rally, he said the bill, which still needs approval from India’s upper chamber, was a “national commitment” to the minorities.

Modi said citizenship will only be granted after thorough checks on each applicant.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019
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