'Exercise High degree of caution': Australia asks citizens travelling to India
Melbourne, Dec 17: The Australian government on Tuesday asked its citizens to exercise "high degree of caution" while travelling to India, which has witnessed violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act.
Last week, the US, the UK, Singapore, Canada and Israel had warned their citizens against travelling to northeast India in view of the violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
An advisory issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) asked Australian citizens to exercise "high degree of caution" while travelling to India due to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
"Demonstrations against the new Citizenship Amendment Act are taking place in parts of the country. Some have turned violent," the advisory stated. Protests against the Act have taken place in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana and Delhi-NCR. There are "reports of violence", it noted. It also referred to possible terrorist attacks that could occur anywhere at any time and that it may be targeted towards foreigners and popular tourist areas. "Avoid possible targets. Take official warnings seriously," the statement said.
Due to high risk of violence, travellers should reconsider their travel to Assam (except Guwahati), Nagaland, Manipur, Chhattisgarh and the border areas of neighbouring states, it said. The advisory also asked Australian travellers not to visit Jammu and Kashmir and the India-Pakistan border.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday termed violent protests across the country against the CAA as "unfortunate and deeply distressing", and appealed to people to stay away from rumour-mongering and not let "vested interests" divide the society. In a series of tweets, Modi also assured that the amended citizenship law does not affect any Indian of any religion.