Bombings occur throughout India, says Canadian advisoryAugust 12th, 2009 - 10:08 am ICT by IANS
By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Aug 12 (IANS) In a rather sweeping advisory to its citizens travelling in India, the Canadian foreign office says terror attacks, bomb blasts and violence can happen at any place, at any time in the country.
According to it, bombings occur throughout India and it is not safe for foreign travellers as violence can happen any time.
Hoisting the danger signal for its citizens travelling to India, the foreign office has told them to be particularly vigilant before the country’s independence day later this week.
They should exercise caution in the lead up to the Aug 15 celebrations “as militants have used such occasions to mount attacks in the past”, the advisory says.
“Canadians are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, remain aware of their surroundings, monitor local news reports, follow the advice of local authorities, avoid crowded places, and take appropriate steps to increase their personal security,” it adds.
The advisory says though Mumbai “is beginning to return to a semblance of normality” after the November terror attack, terrorism threat is always high in India, including places frequented by foreign visitors and expatriates.
Warning the Canadians against non-essential travel to north-eastern states and no travel at all to Jammu and Kashmir and other border areas, it says: “Terrorist violence, such as bombings in public areas and on public transportation, occurs throughout India.
“Public trains and buses are always potential targets. Exercise caution when travelling throughout India, particularly when visiting tourist sites, government installations or attending public events such as cultural festivals.”
Referring to last year’s serial blasts in various cities, the advisory says: “Attacks can take place anywhere and at any time in India and many recent incidents have resulted in deaths and/or injuries.”
Warning its citizens against political rallies and demonstrations, it says “they are frequent throughout the country and can turn violent, particularly immediately preceding and following elections”.
“Both domestic and international political events can trigger large-scale demonstrations which may include communal violence. Transportation and services can be disrupted on short notice. Curfews are occasionally imposed.”
The advisory says foreigners in India also face petty crime, including pick-pocketing and bag snatching.
“Passports and valuables have been stolen from luggage on trains and buses. Pay attention to the security of personal belongings and passports. Do not accept food or drink from strangers. There have been cases of drugging.
“There have been increased reports of assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreign women. Women should avoid travelling alone, particularly after dark. Foreign women are often a target for unwanted attention.”
Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to the Canadian foreign minister, said the sweeping advisory was justified as “we lost our citizens in the Mumbai terror attacks.”
“This is just in response what India has done - beef up its security apparatus,” he said.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)
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