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Film fury: US asks its nationals to skip J&K
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 16
The US has advised its nationals to avoid travel to Jammu and Kashmir after some religious leaders asked American citizens to leave the state to avoid public wrath in the wake of video clips on the web disparaging Prophet Mohammed.

India has condemned all acts that disparage religious beliefs and sentiments and said it was in touch with the US authorities on the issue of the anti-Islam film that has led to violence in many countries and the killing on the American envoy to Libya.

“In connection with recent events, we would like to reiterate that India has always strongly condemned all acts that disparage religious beliefs and hurt religious sentiments. The Ministry of External Affairs is in touch with US officials, who share our concerns on the matter. Google India has, in compliance with Indian law, blocked access to the offensive material,” MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

The US State Department, in its latest security message to all American citizens, said “This is to alert all US citizens in India, or planning to travel to India in the near future, of statements made by regional leaders in J & K calling for US citizens to immediately leave.” The US Embassy’s contacts in the state had reported that they were taking special security precautions in the light of these statements, the statement added.

The security alert said the US State Department would strongly recommend that American citizens avoid travel to the state, with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh, because of the potential for terrorist incidents, as well as violent public unrest.

The alert said US government employees were prohibited from travelling to J & K (except Ladakh) without permission, which was only granted by the US Embassy in exceptional circumstances.

It noted that a number of terrorist groups were operating in the state, targeting security forces in the region, particularly along the Line of Control, and those stationed in primary tourist destinations in the valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam. “Foreigners are particularly visible, vulnerable and at risk,’’ it said.





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