UK issues advisory, warns citizens against travelling to J&K
Pic Credit: The Tribune
New Delhi/London: The UK on Saturday issued a travel advisory for its citizens travelling to Jammu and Kashmir, warning against travel to the state, except Jammu city and Ladakh, after the Indian government advised Amarnath pilgrims and tourists to leave in view of the security situation.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir – “with the exception of (i) travel within the city of Jammu, (ii) travel by air to the city of Jammu, (iii) travel within the region of Ladakh”.
It advised against “all but essential travel to the city of Srinagar and travel between the cities of Jammu and Srinagar on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway”, and also advised against travel to the tourist destinations of Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonmarg.
It said the British High Commission in New Delhi was monitoring the situation following reports that the Jammu and Kashmir government had advised tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to curtail their stay in the Kashmir Valley immediately and take necessary measures to return home as soon because of security threats.
“If you’re in Jammu and Kashmir, you should remain vigilant, follow the advice of local authorities and keep up to date with developments, including via this travel advice.”
It said there have been “a number of terrorist attacks against army bases and other targets in Jammu and Kashmir”, and mentioned the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 security personnel were killed. It also mentioned the February 10, 2018 terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Sujuwan in which 16 persons were killed, the July 2017 terror attack on a bus carrying pilgrims on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, the Uri terror attack of 2016.
According to the advisory, “Since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM) commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, there have been widespread violent protests in the Kashmir Valley, which have resulted in deaths and serious casualties. As a result, curfews are imposed and lifted on an almost daily basis.”
“Foreigners remain vulnerable in rural districts and outside the main population centres and tourist areas. There is a risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnapping. The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The level of consular assistance that the British High Commission can provide in Jammu & Kashmir is severely limited,” it added.
The state government advised the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley keeping in view the “latest intelligence inputs of terror threats”.