Indian authorities are reportedly constructing a half-kilometer-long wall in the state of Gujarat to hide low-income housing and slums from visiting U.S. dignitaries ahead of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE‘s visit.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the 4-foot-high wall was originally planned to be higher before public outrage resulted in officials changing the design.
The wall will be constructed in the city of Ahmedabad, where Trump will visit next week as part of a two-day trip to the country. In the city, Trump is expected to attend a “Namaste Trump” event hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ahmedabad’s mayor, Bijal Patel, told the AP that the project was part of a “beautification” initiative and disputed allegations that the purpose was to hide the slums.
“Apart from security reasons, the wall is also part of a beautification and cleanliness drive,” he said.
Some families living in the area told the newswire that they were evicted from their homes to facilitate the wall’s construction.
“We have been living here for the last 20 years and now we are suddenly being told to vacate because some important leader is visiting this city for a day,” resident Sanjay Patani told the AP. “This is injustice.”
“Since they are spending so much money on this wall, why not use that to improve our slum and provide better facilities for us,” added Keshi Saraniya, another resident. “Why are they hiding us poor people?”
Next week’s visit is Trump’s first to the country after he previously attended a “Howdy, Modi” event for Modi in Houston last year.
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