GUWAHATI: As protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act continue in Assam and the other northeastern states, it has been confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not participate in the opening ceremony of the third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG).

Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said today that the issue of “cancellation” doesn’t arise as the PM didn’t ever confirm his participation.

It is still unknown whether the PM has decided to skip the event because of the widespread ongoing protests against his government’s controversial citizenship policies.

A PIB statement on December 8 said that Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Kiren Rijiju, the minister of state with independent charge for youth affairs and sports, along with a host of star athletes, among them Hima Das, will attend the inaugural ceremony tomorrow, January 10.

This will be the second event the PM has chosen not to attend in Assam, after the India-Japan summit which was scheduled to be held on December 15 in Guwahati.

Also in the ides of December, union home minister Amit Shah had cancelled a scheduled visit to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

No official from the KIYG organising committee or the state government has cited any reason for PM Modi’s decision. Avinash Joshi, CEO of the KIYG, announced during a press conference last month that an invitation had been extended to the PM to inaugurate the games.

The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the influential students’ body which has been vocal against the CAA, had warned that if the PM were to come for the event he would face huge protests.

At a large demonstration in Guwahati two days ago Palash Changmai, the state secretary of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad reportedly said the prime minister would be greeted with the slogan ‘Bhago Modi’ or Modi Get Out.

KIYG is a national level multidisciplinary grassroot games held for under-17 year old school students and under-21 college students. The games were started in 2018 in a bid to encourage the sporting scene in the country.

In a first for a sporting talent identification event, the Centre declared the Khelo India Games an event of national importance.