PM Modi Turns Down Invite To Inaugurate Khelo India Youth Games In Assam

Assam has been in the grip of protests against the government's new citizenship law.

PM Modi Turns Down Invite To Inaugurate Khelo India Youth Games In Assam

PM Modi has informed the sports ministry as well as the Assam government (File)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided not to go for the launch of the "Khelo India Youth Games" on Friday in Guwahati, Assam, where protests against the government's new citizenship law have been on for weeks. A BJP leader said PM Modi had turned down the invite because of "lack of time".

PM Modi has reportedly informed the sports ministry as well as the Assam government that he will not be able to open the event.

"It (the visit) is cancelled," Assam BJP spokesman Dewan Dhruba Jyoti Maral was quoted as telling news agency IANS.

"The state government approached him. But he cannot give time," he said.

The Assam government had reportedly also sounded out Home Minister Amit Shah but he is also not going.

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Assam has been in the grip of protests against the government's new citizenship law. Student bodies like the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and North East Students' Union (NESO) have warned that PM Modi or Amit Shah will face protests anywhere in the northeast.

The government has declared the Khelo India Games as an event of national importance. Around 6,800 athletes are expected to participate in the third edition of the Games.

"Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the Khelo India Games is not just an event, it is a movement. Promoting sports and fitness among the youth and sensitizing parents to motivate young athletes to pursue a sporting dream is a first step towards making India a sporting superpower. The Khelo India Games being declared events of national importance is a significant step towards achieving that goal," said Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday.

Last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India was called off after an annual summit between the prime ministers of the two countries in Guwahati was postponed because of the protests.