India spending $12M to build 1,600-feet brick wall to hide 'dirty' slums from Trump during his visit
The Trumps will be in India for a two-day visit and Indian authorities say the wall is for security reasons
President Donald Trump is set to pay a two-day visit to India next week with First Lady Melania Trump. To make things look ‘clean’, the host country is rushing to build walls reportedly to hide slums from the high-profile guests' view. The controversial preparation for the Trumps’ visit is taking place in Ahmedabad -- a city in Gujarat from where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails. The Modi government has set up a trend of welcoming foreign leaders to Ahmedabad over the years as Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu have also been hosted there in the past.
Modi himself will be at the airport in Ahmedabad where Trump and Melania will land on Monday, February 24. In the past, Modi invited Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama during the Republic Day celebrations in 2015 and Michelle Obama was also present. New Delhi also invited Trump to be present at the Republic Day celebrations in January last year but the latter declined because of a busy domestic schedule.
India, however, is looking to make the most out of the president’s visit this time. The Trumps will go from the airport to the under-construction Motera Stadium, set to become the world’s largest cricket stadium, and will host the event named ‘Namaste Trump’. And to make the journey ‘smooth’, the host nation has decided to build a 1,640-foot brick wall fast near the stadium to hide nearly 2,000 people living in the slum. The Trumps will be in Ahmedabad for about three hours during which the state is expected to spend a whopping $11-12M.
Local civic authorities also issued eviction notice
The matter turned even worse as the civic authorities of Ahmedabad issued a notice for the eviction of more than 40 houses located at a distance of a kilometer and a half from the stadium.
“You have encroached upon a plot of land belonging to the AMC. Evict the plot in another seven days with your household chattels, otherwise, departmental action will be taken to evict the land. If you have to make any representation, you can do so on February 19 at 3 pm,” India’s newspaper the Hindu cited the notice issued by the civic officials.
Indian officials, however, have a different version to offer. Bijal Patel, a senior government official, told the Associated Press that the wall was being built more for “security reasons”, “beautification” and “cleanliness” and not to hide the slum. Hoardings and paintings were also put up across the city to welcome the president.
Trump says he likes Modi
Trump, who has not been as friendly towards India like his predecessors George W. Bush and Obama particularly because of trade and climate reasons, spoke about it at a press conference on Tuesday, February 18. “We are not treated very well by India, but I happen to like the prime minister a lot,” he said.
The Republican leader was also startled by the fact that seven million people will be present when he lands at the airport. “The stadium, I understand, is going semi-under construction, but it is going to be the largest stadium in the world. It's going to be very exciting, but he says between the stadium and the airport, we will have about 7 million people. It's going to be very exciting,” the 73-year-old, who will contest for his second presidential term this year, said.
Modi has visited the US a couple of times when Trump hosted him, including the ‘Howdy Modi’ show in Houston last September. It is time for reciprocation and Trump believes it would appeal to thousands of Indian-American voters in his country ahead of the November 3 election.