SRINAGAR: The United States on Friday asked its citizens to not visit any part of Jammu and Kashmir except Leh and the eastern Ladakh region, due to “terrorism and civil unrest”. It also advised US travellers to not venture within 10 km of the border with Pakistan “due to the potential for armed conflict”.
“Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh). Sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LoC) separating India and Pakistan, and in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam,” reads the advisory on the website of US Department of State.
The advisory has also warned US citizens to “exercise caution” while visiting India and recommended that women should not travel alone to the country. “Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India,” the advisory said. “Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.”
“Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active in a large swath of India from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The Naxalites have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials,” it said.
“Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all US government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special authorization from the US consulate responsible for the area to be visited. US officials traveling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorization,” it added.
The department has also prohibited US government employees in India from travelling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization from the US Consulate General in Kolkata.
US government issues four types of travel advisory, from level one to level four. Level one, as per the department, advises maximum precaution; the second is for increased caution; the third is to reconsider travel; and the fourth is not to travel.