UK Advises Against Travel To JK

UK Advises Against Travel To JK

14 February 2013
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: The United Kingdom has advised its citizens against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir following imposition of curfew in the Valley in the wake of execution of Muhammad Afzal Guru last Saturday. “There is an ongoing curfew covering the whole of Indian controlled Kashmir that was imposed following the execution of Mohammed Afzal Guru on the morning of 9 February in Delhi. As part of the curfew there is a heavy police presence and additional checkpoints in towns across Kashmir, including Srinagar. Some internet services, mobile phone networks and television channels have been blocked by the authorities,” the advisory issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth office of the UK has cautioned British nationals. It asked the British nationals against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, travel between these two cities on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, and the region of Ladakh. Kashmir is reeling under curfew for the past six days after Afzal was hanged on the morning of February 9. Heavy contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF have been called out by the state government in Srinagar city and other towns and villages of the Valley to keep situation under control. The state authorities said the curfew was clamped due to apprehension that the execution would trigger massive protests. At least three persons died and more than 50 were injured in police and CRPF action on protesting youth at different places across Kashmir during past six days. The advisory asked the British nationals planning to visit Kashmir to monitor the situation and be prepared to alter their plans. “British nationals residing in or currently visiting Kashmir should abide by the conditions of the curfew and avoid any large crowds or protests that may occur,” it said. The UK partially withdrew its adverse travel advisory on JK last year, which prohibited its nationals from visiting the Valley. The advisory was imposed in 1995. The UK was the third major country to revoke travel advisory on Kashmir after Germany and Japan. As per government estimates, more than 12 lakh tourists visited Kashmir during 2012, making it one of the most successful tourism years ever in the scenic Valley which witnessed a “relative calm” during 2011 and 2012, after 2010 summer unrest in which more than 120 Kashmiri youth were killed in action by police and paramilitary CRPF. The state tourism department figures showed both Indians and foreigners visited in large numbers despite fears about security. From a few thousand foreigners visiting Kashmir, the figure jumped to 22,000 in 2012.