HYDERABAD: The United States state department has issued an advisory to its citizens against travel to northern Telangana and several other states in the country. While it mentions Maoist activities, the ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory for central and east India, gains importance in view of the recent bust of a terror module linked to the Pakistan-based Laskhar-e-Tayyaba by the Hyderabad city police.
The state department, however, reduced the India Travel Advisory level to 2 on a scale of one to 4 with the latter being the highest.
The terror module involved three Hyderabad natives, who were allegedly in touch with their ISI handlers based in Pakistan. As they were planning to execute ‘lone wolf’ attacks on large groups, public places and vital installations using explosives. A high alert had been sounded to track their contacts in Hyderabad and other parts of the country.
Police claimed that though a major attack was averted, the vigil on the arrested trio's contacts and associates would continue to prevent any trouble.
Senior police officials said that it was a routine advisory of caution and there is nothing to panic about at the moment.
The US advisory said that Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites” were active in a large swathe 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, added the advisory.
The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal. Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all US government travellers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special authorization from the US consulate responsible for the area to be visited, the advisory said. US officials travelling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorisation, it said.
It advised against travel to Jammu and Kashmir due to terrorism and civil unrest and to within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.
According to the travel advisory, “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 said, “Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.”...