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Assam protests: Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s official visit postponed, to be held on a later date

The talks between PM Modi and Mr Abe was due to take place from December 15 to 17. It has been postponed and will reportedly take place on a later date.

The official visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to India, which was scheduled to be held in Guwahati next week, has been postponed amid violent protests in the northeast over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

According to reports, Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that both countries have decided to defer the scheduled visit of Japanese Prime Minister to India and the leaders will meet on a mutually convenient date in the near future.

The talks between PM Modi and Mr Abe was due to take place from December 15 to 17. A Japanese media report had said he may consider cancelling the visit amid violent protests.

Earlier on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said there was no clarity on whether the government would go ahead with the India-Japan annual summit in Guwahati from December 15-17 as planned.

Guwahati, the capital city of Assam was the planned venue for the three-day summit between Japanese Prime Minister Abe and PM Modi. However, the city has been under curfew after violent protests erupted over the Citizenship Amendment Act.

On Thursday, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and the country’s Home Minister had called off their visits to India. However, the foreign ministry had clarified that the cancellation of FM’s visit was not linked to ongoing developments in India, especially the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and by Lok Sabha on Monday. It became law on Thursday, December 12, after President Kovind gave his assent.

The Citizenship Amendment act seeks to give Indian citizenship to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from three neighbouring Islamic countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh after facing religious persecution.

The Act states the refugees of the six communities will be given Indian citizenship after residing in India for five years, instead of earlier requirement of 11 years. The Act also proposes to give immunity to such refugees facing legal cases after being found as illegal migrants. The cut-off date for granting citizenship will be December 31, 2014.

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