US President Donald Trump’s first-ever visit to India was expected to be the hottest trend on social media in the political circles. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had obviously expected the “Namaste Trump” event to make more waves all over the world. But alas, the home-brewed disturbances in India found the perfect time to boil over with widespread riots in Delhi (which are now being compared to the genocidal 2002 Gujarat riots).
With the US elections due, “Namaste Trump” was a grand occasion for the US President to woo the NRI’s and Indian industrial honchos to support him and his campaign. Starting with the inauguration of the biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Trump has stuck to his agenda to the tee.
The mainstream Indian media was busy counting the number of times PM Modi hugged President Trump after he landed in Ahmedabad, along with First Lady Melania Trump and other family members.
Then they went to Sabarmati Ashram, where President Trump spun the charkha. He and his wife also left a message on the visitors’ log: “To my great friend, Prime Minister Modi, thank you for this wonderful visit.”
POTUS went on to meet a high-profile roundtable of Indian businessmen and said, “The market will jump thousands and thousands of points if I win, but if I don’t win, it will crash like never before,” referring to the upcoming US elections.
All this while, North-East part of Delhi has been on the boil since Monday. Hindutva mobs have unleashed large-scale violence against anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protestors, and there has also been violence and stone-pelting from the other side. Shots have been fired in some parts of the district. Several shops and homes have been vandalized and set on fire, and vehicles have been torched.
The violence has led to the death of at least 13 persons and more than 100 have been injured. The situation remains volatile, with armed mobs patrolling the streets and continuing to torch homes and shops. Reporters covering these incidents were heckled and even beaten up.
Mr. Modi seems to be blissfully ignorant of all the chaos as he continued his bromance with Trump with opulent dinner arrangements and grand gestures.
There have been widespread protests since the Citizenship (Amendment) Act came to fore. Touted as being anti-Muslim, it was passed amidst protests all across India in mid-December. More than 25 people were killed before the clashes in Delhi. There were still reports of violence in several parts of Delhi’s north-east district with large plumes of black smoke rising in the sky just 15 kilometers from where Trump and Modi held their diplomatic talks.