Be wary of sexual, other crimes, embassies advise their citizens

Panduranga Mhaske
Monday, 23 April 2018

Foreign embassies have issued safety advisories to their citizens and cited violent crimes against women and children, threat of terrorism and the worsening social and criminal situation as reasons.

Mumbai: Foreign embassies have issued safety advisories to their citizens and cited violent crimes against women and children, threat of terrorism and the worsening social and criminal situation as reasons. The advisories focus on places that their citizens should not visit and safety measures to be taken by women. 

The British and US consulate have commented that crimes against woman are rising in India. They cited past incidents where foreign female travellers where targeted. The US consulate stated in their advisory, “Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Do not travel alone, particularly if you are a woman. Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crimes, such as sexual assault, have occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.” 

For Jammu and Kashmir, it advised avoiding some areas (except eastern Ladakh and Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest. 

The embassy also advised their citizens not to travel within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to potential for armed conflict. Terrorist or armed groups are active in East Central India, primarily in rural areas. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. US government employees are prohibited from travelling to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorisation from the US Consulate General in 
Kolkata.

It also mentioned the Naxalite movement and advised that Maoist extremist groups are active in large swaths 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. 

Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travellers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special authorisation from the US consulate responsible for the area to be visited. US officials travelling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorisation.

The British Consulate also issued the advisory for their citizens on the same lines. They mentioned that terrorist attacks are carried out by a number of terrorist and insurgent groups including Lashkar-e Tayyiba, Jaish-e Mohammed and the Indian Mujahideen. There have been recent media reports suggesting Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) interest in attacking targets in India. There may be an increased threat to places visited by British nationals such as religious sites, markets, festival venues and beaches.

“While the main focus of terrorist attacks has been against Indian government interests, terrorists have also targeted places visited by westerners including public places like restaurants, hotels, railway stations, markets, places of worship, festivals and sporting venues. Be vigilant, especially in public places. Always monitor local media before planning your travel for any local travel warnings. If you see unattended baggage, report it promptly. Take particular care in the lead up to and on days of national significance, like Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August), Diwali (07 November 2018) and Eid (15 June 2018),” it states.

For British women travellers, the consulate issued a major precautionary note saying, “Women should use caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women and young girls are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. British women have been the victims of sexual assault in Goa, Delhi, Bangalore and Rajasthan and women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men.”

“Woman travelling in India should respect local dress codes and customs and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, when alone at any time of day. Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night,” it adds.

 Alerts issued by US consulate so far
- Demonstration Alert for U.S. Citizens: Large Political Rally in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai (6 April, 2018)
- Demonstration Alert for U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu (3 April, 2018)
- Message for U.S. Citizens: Road Closures in New Delhi, Sunday, March 11, 2018 (11 March, 2018)
- Message for U.S. Citizens: Prohibition on Import or Possession of Satellite Phones and Ammunition (1 March, 2018)
- Demonstrations in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala (February 16, 2018) (16 February, 2018)
- Demonstration Alert for U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations and Strike in Karnataka (January 25, 2018) (25 January, 2018)
- Security Alert: Security Awareness and Transportation Advisory for ASEAN Summit and Republic Day January 18-26, 2018 (19 January, 2018)
- United States Consulate General Chennai, India - Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Protests in Chennai, December 21, 2017 (21 December, 2017)
- Emergency Message Follow-up for U.S. Citizens: Media Reports of Bomb Threat in New Delhi’s Khan Market (15 December, 2017)
- Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Media Reports of Bomb Threat in New Delhi’s Khan Market (15 December, 2017)

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