US cautions its citizens in India after its lawmakers express concern over Delhi violence

US cautions its citizens in India after its lawmakers express concern over Delhi violence

Washington, February 26

US Embassy in New Delhi issued an advisory to its own citizens travelling to India over violent communal clashes in Delhi that have killed over 20 people. 

The advisory, tweeted by the Embassy official Twitter handle, cautioned its citizens to monitor local media for updates and avoid areas of demonstrations.    

“US citizens in India should exercise caution in light of violent demonstrations in Northeast Delhi and avoid all areas with demonstrations.  It is important that you monitor local media outlets for updates on demonstrations, road and Metro closures, and possible curfews. The Government of India-imposed law that prohibits political gatherings of four or more people – known as Section 144 – remains in effect in certain areas”.

Here is the complete advisory.   

The violence over the amended citizenship act in India’s capital New Delhi drew sharp reactions from US lawmakers with the mainstream media prominently reporting it along with the just-concluded visit of President Donald Trump.

Reacting to the violence that has claimed at least 13 lives in the past couple of days, US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said the “deadly surge of religious intolerance in India is horrifying”.

“Democracies should not tolerate division and discrimination or promote laws that undermine religious freedom,” she said in a tweet, adding that the “world is watching”.

The Indian Parliament had passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) last year, resulting in a series of protests across the country.

Jayapal had last year introduced a Congressional resolution urging India to end the restrictions on communications in Jammu and Kashmir and preserve religious freedom for all residents.

Congressman Alan Lowenthal also termed the violence a “tragic failure of moral leadership”.

“We must speak out in the face of threats to human rights in India,” he said.

Democratic presidential candidate and senator Elizabeth Warren also took a swipe at the violence, saying, “It’s important to strengthen relationship with democratic partners like India. But we must be able to speak truthfully about our values, including religious freedom and freedom of expression, and violence against peaceful protesters is never acceptable.”

Congresswoman Rashida Talib tweeted, “This week, Trump visited India but the real story should be the communal violence targeting Muslims in Delhi right now. We cannot be silent as this tide of anti-Muslim violence continues across India.”

The violence in Delhi prominently featured in the mainstream media.

The Washington Post reported, “The riots represent a serious escalation of tensions after months of protests in response to a controversial citizenship law and growing frictions between supporters and opponents of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

“As President Trump toured India’s capital, at least 11 people were killed in communal clashes that have upended a working-class neighbourhood,” The New York Times said.

In a tweet, US Commission for International Religious Freedom said it is alarmed by reports of “deadly mob violence targeting Muslims in New Delhi”. It urged the Modi government to rein in the mob and protect religious minorities. PTI

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