iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
The United States travel advisory flags rape in India, asks American visitors to exercise caution.
For travelers from the United States planning to go to India, the US travel advisory has highlighted “rape” as a major concern, thereby putting India in the ‘Level 2’ category of travel destinations.
The advisory, which was issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the US State Department on 15 November.
The board has asked American travelers to exercise “increased caution” while traveling to India, as it said, “Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations”.
“Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest-growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations,” the advisory stated.
The US State Department follows four categories of travel advisories for countries. Level 2 denotes “exercise increased caution”, while Level 1 means “exercise normal precautions”. Level 3 indicates “reconsider travel”, and finally Level 4 is used for destinations where the advice is “do not travel”.
Apart from sexual crimes, the advisory also refers to rise in terrorism, insurgency by ethnic groups and Maoist rebellion as some of the reasons why American travelers should exercise caution while traveling to India.
Apart from sexual crimes, the advisory has also advised American travelers to avoid visiting some popular tourist places in Jammu and Kashmir due to the risk of terrorist attacks and civil unrest.
“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),” the advisory stated.
It added: “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. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC.”
This is not the first time that the US has highlighted sexual assault as a concern in its travel advisories for India. It was highlighted earlier in 2018 and 2019, when the US had asked women travelers to exercise caution.