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Business News/ News / India/  ‘Many Hussain Obamas…’: Assam CM Himanta Sarma sparks row, Opposition cites PM Modi's speech in US
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‘Many Hussain Obamas…’: Assam CM Himanta Sarma sparks row, Opposition cites PM Modi's speech in US

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma faced criticism after asserting that there were many ‘Hussain Obamas in India’. The remarks came in response to former US President Barack Obama's comments about the vulnerability of minorities in India and drew sharp criticism from the Congress.

Former US president Barack Obama applauds the audience before a discussion at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens. (AP)Premium
Former US president Barack Obama applauds the audience before a discussion at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens. (AP)

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma sparked a war of words on Friday after asserting that there were many “Hussain Obama in India". The remarks came in the wake of former US President Barack Obama's comments about the vulnerability of minorities in India and speculative posts about his arrest.

"There are many Hussain Obama in India itself. We should prioritize taking care of them before considering going to Washington. The Assam police will act according to our own priorities," the BJP leader tweeted.

He was responding to a post that wondered whether the Assam Police would to Washington to arrest Obama - an apparent jibe at the FIRs lodged in Assam against opposition leaders over their remarks in different parts of the country. The Assam police had travelled to different locations and even made arrests - including deplaning and apprehending Congress leader Pawan Khera in February and arresting then-Independent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani last year.

ALSO READ: Assam Floods: Many villages submerged, nearly 5 lakh affected amid heavy rain

The remarks came amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ongoing US State Visit and has drawn sharp criticism from the Congress. Party leaders linked Sarma's remarks to the PM's joint White House press conference with President Biden where he had claimed that “there is no discrimination in India". The BJP-led government, he had asserted, followed the Constitution and did not have any curbs based on caste or religion.

“‘My friend Barack’ is now Hussain Obama! Actually Himanta has answered what PM Modi was asked at White House. His insinuation - about President Obama being a Muslim and Indian Muslims need to be taught a lesson - was the question’s premise. What is the PM, MEA and Govt of India’s stand on this?" asked Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate.

Earlier on Thursday, Obama had told CNN that India may “pull apart" if the rights of the religious and ethnic minorities are not upheld.

“If the (US) President meets with Prime Minister Modi, then the protection of the Muslim minority in a Hindu majority India is worth mentioning. If I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument would be that if you don’t protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, there is a strong possibility that India would at some point start pulling apart," he opined.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 23 Jun 2023, 10:55 PM IST
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