The US and UK have issued advisories to their citizens with precautions while travelling in Northeast India, which is a marred by protests and “incidents of violence”.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of UK advise against all but essential travel to the state of Manipur, except the state capital, Imphal and the Meiti Valley areas, which include Loktak Lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park and the Imphal War Cemetery.
According to the FCO, over 940,000 British nationals visited India in 2017.
This year, Northeast India and Assam have witnessed vigorous protests with participation of large number of people who have voiced against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
Keeping this in view, the FCO in its advisory asks the British tourists to avoid protests in Northeast India.
“You should avoid protests and large gatherings. Stampedes have occurred during some events with large crowds, including at political rallies and religious gatherings, resulting in deaths and injuries,” the advisory said.
“From January 2019, protests have continued in Assam and other states in the North East of India,” it added.
It may be mentioned that before and after the tabling of the CAB on January 8, 2019 on the floor of the Lok Sabha, different organisations across the Northeast, mainly Assam, staged massive protests against the bill.
Insurgency has not remained a major issue in Northeast India, but in the travel advisory, issued by the US Departement of State – Bureau of consular Affairs, “incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur occasionally in the Northeast.”
“U.S. government employees are prohibited from travelling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata,” it said.
In the advisory, the US women citizens have been asked not to travel alone.
The US government’s India travel advisory, which was issued earlier in March 2019, places India at ‘level 2’ security and advises US travellers to ‘exercise increased caution’.
It also stated that Indian authorities report rape as one of the fastest-growing crimes in India, and violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.
The advisories have explained everything in detail, and also urge women to be aware of their rights when they are visiting India.