MFA issues travel notice for northeast India due to violent protests

MFA issues travel notice for northeast India due to violent protests

People stand next to vehicles that were set ablaze by demonstrators during a protest on Thursday, a
People stand next to vehicles that were set ablaze by demonstrators during a protest on Thursday, after the parliament passed a Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), in Guwahati, December 13, 2019. REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika

SINGAPORE: Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Saturday (Dec 14) issued a travel notice for northeast India, advising Singaporeans travelling there to "exercise vigilance and caution".

Violent protests there over a new citizenship law for minorities from some neighbouring countries have led to deaths in Assam state.

Many in the far-flung, resource-rich region fear the new legislation will grant citizenship to large numbers of immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, who they accuse of stealing jobs and diluting the region's cultural identity.

In Guwahati in Assam state, the epicentre of the protests, two were shot dead and 26 hospitalised this week after security forces fired blank and live rounds.

An indefinite curfew has been imposed in Guwahati and curfews have also been introduced intermittently in other parts of Assam and Meghalaya, the ministry said. 

"Travel conditions are difficult due to street protests and cancellation of some flight and train services. Mobile data have also been restricted in some areas," MFA said. 

READ: Two dead, several wounded in India as protests escalate over citizenship law

The ministry advised affected Singaporeans to check with their travel agents on the latest situation and allow more time for travel. 

Due to the evolving situation, they should also keep themselves updated on the latest developments through the local news and to take all necessary precautions to ensure their personal safety, including avoiding areas with crowds, it said.

Washington and London have also issued travel warnings for the region, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe postponed a summit that had reportedly been due to be held in Guwahati from Sunday.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) - approved this week - allows for the fast-tracking of applications from religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but not Muslims.

The chief ministers of several Indian states - West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh - have said they will not implement the law.

Singaporeans in India are encouraged to eRegister with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 
Those who require consular assistance can contact the following:
 
SINGAPORE HIGH COMMISSION IN NEW DELHI, INDIA
E-6 Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
Tel: +91 11 4600 0800 / +91 98102 03595
Email: singhc_del@mfa.sg
 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office (24-hours)
Tanglin, Singapore 248163
Tel: +65 6379 8800/ 8855

Source: CNA/AFP/hm

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