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US cautions its citizens on terror attacks in India

Source: PTI
December 30, 2009 09:42 IST
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Apprehending Mumbai-type terrorist attack in various parts of India, the US on Wednesday alerted its citizens to be cautious during their visit to that country and asked them to defer their travel to Andhra Pradesh as violence continues over issue of separate Telangana state.

This is the third travel alert issued by the United States in quick session.

"The US government continues to receive information that terrorist groups may be planning attacks in India. Terrorists and their sympathisers have demonstrated their willingness and capability to attack targets where Americans or Westerners are known to congregate or visit," the travel alert said.

"In addition, there continues to be a possibility of violence in the south-central Indian state of Andhra Pradesh over the contentious issue of creating a separate state," the state department said.

This alert replaces the travel alerts dated October 29 and December 9, 2009, and expires on January 31, 2010, it said.

Recent media reports coming from intelligence agencies indicated that suicide bombers have entered India with the objective of creating Mumbai-type mayhem.

"The November 2008 attacks in Mumbai provided a vivid reminder that hotels and other public places are especially attractive targets for terrorist groups. US citizens are urged always to practice good security, maintain a heightened situational awareness and a low profile," the travel alert said.

Americans are advised to monitor local news reports and consider the level of security present when visiting public places, including religious sites, or choosing hotels, restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues, it said.

The US said there is also the possibility of violence in Andhra Pradesh as civil unrest continues over the contentious issue of statehood for the Telangana region.

The state department recommends that US citizens defer all non-essential travel to Telangana and certain parts of Hyderabad (especially the state assembly and secretariat, Osmania University, Panjagutta, and Ameerpet areas).

"Andhra Pradesh continues to experience episodic civil unrest as pro and anti-statehood political groups rally supporters to their respective causes," it said.

"A number of strikes have shut down schools and businesses, making it at times difficult to obtain essentials such as gasoline.

Protesters have targeted public transportation, attacking trains and burning numerous buses. Public transport networks have been forced to shut down several times," the state department said.

"There have been repeated clashes between police and protesters, damage to private property, and a number of deaths and injuries associated with the disturbances. Government security forces have been augmented in many parts of the state, especially in Hyderabad and in the Telangana region," said the travel alert.
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