American presidential visits have always been major events in India and the current trip by US President Donald Trump was expected to be no different. On Monday, Modi and Trump jointly addressed a rally in a stadium in Gujarat and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister met the US President as he was on his way to see the Taj Mahal in Agra.
However, this visit threatens to be overshadowed by horrific street violence that has broken out in the Indian capital, Delhi, only a few kilometres from where Trump is staying. On Monday, Delhi witnessed brutal scenes as civilians and police clashed with protestors opposing the Modi government’s new citizenship law, which discriminates against Muslims.
Alongside, the government has also promised to institute a National Register of Citizens to identify undocumented migrants. But senior leaders of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have on several occasions suggested that these initiatives will work in tandem to be aimed exclusively against the country’s 200 million Muslims.
As a result, rather the the Trump-Modi meet generating headlines, it is the Delhi violence that is catching the eye of the international press.
This is how the BBC reported Monday’s events.
In its headline, international news agency Reuters contextualised the riots as happening “ahead of Trump’s arrival”.
Fellow international news agency Associated Press also followed the same template as Reuters.
That the two top international news agencies took this news angle meant much of the rest of the international media followed suit. This is Britian’s Guardian using an Associated Press article.
France24 twinned the reception given to Trump with the death of a policeman in the Delhi violence.
Al Jazeera didn’t have “Trump” in its main headline but did put the president in its strap line.
American business website Bloomberg was more urgent and direct in both referencing Trump and also communicating the scale of the violence.
International business wesbite Quartz was much the same, bucketing Delhi under “conflict zone”.