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Indian politician Himanta Biswa Sarma lashed out at former U.S. president Barack Obama in a tweet Friday, saying Indian police “ought to prioritize taking good care of” the various “Hussain Obama” in India — a pointed reference to the nation’s Muslim inhabitants.

The remark got here after an interview during which Obama inspired President Biden to press Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the nation’s therapy of its Muslim minority inhabitants throughout an official state go to Thursday.

Sarma serves as chief minister of Assam, a northeastern state in India with one of many highest concentrations of Muslims, and is a rising star in Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Get together (BJP), which has been criticized for its Hindu nationalist platform, mistreatment of Muslim minority rights and declining press freedom.

Towards this backdrop of human rights points, Modi, as soon as banned from the USA due to allegations of encouragement of non secular violence, is at present within the midst of an official state go to the place he has made historical past by being the primary Indian chief to handle Congress twice.

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Earlier than Modi’s second congressional deal with, Obama gave an interview Thursday with CNN during which he emphasised safety of India’s Muslim minority. Obama stated if he have been in President Biden’s place assembly with Modi, he would inform the prime minister that “if you don’t shield the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there’s a robust chance that India, in some unspecified time in the future, begins pulling aside.”

“I do suppose that it’s applicable for the president of the USA, the place she or he can, to uphold these rules and to problem — whether or not behind closed doorways or in public — developments which are troubling,” Obama added.

Sarma’s remark got here in response to a tweet by journalist Rohini Singh, who requested if the Assam police have been “on their method to Washington” to arrest Obama.

In Sarma’s tweet, during which he misspelled Obama’s center title, the Indian politician advised Singh that “the Assam police will act based on our personal priorities.”

There are numerous Hussain Obama in India itself. We should always prioritize taking good care of them earlier than contemplating going to Washington. The Assam police will act based on our personal priorities. https://t.co/flGy2VY1eC

— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) June 23, 2023

Singh’s sarcastic comment got here in reference to the Assam police’s earlier arrests.

In February, below Sarma’s route, the Assam police directed the Delhi police to arrest Indian Nationwide Congress opposition spokesman Pawan Khera for mocking Modi.

Khera’s detention is one in a development of arrests nationwide focusing on those that oppose Modi or his authorities.

In March Rahul Gandhi, the chief of the Indian Nationwide Congress get together, was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for defaming Modi throughout a 2019 marketing campaign rally.

Sarma’s tweet “reveals in lots of ways in which what a mainstream BJP politician with enough stature and a constitutional workplace thinks of Muslims,” stated Ashutosh Varshney, director of the Heart for Up to date South Asia at Brown College, including that Sarma’s inclusion of Obama’s center title was merely a method of “twisting” Obama’s assertion into “one made by a Muslim,” even if the previous president doesn’t apply Islam.

The tweet invoking the previous president got here simply hours after Modi performed the primary solo information convention of his nine-year tenure as India’s chief, giving journalists on the White Home a uncommon alternative to ask him questions. Modi has granted few interviews throughout his time in workplace.

When requested about human rights points on the information convention, Modi advised reporters that in India there exists “completely no discrimination neither on the idea of caste, creed or age or any type of geographic location.”

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