SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST NEW CITIZENSHIP LEGISLATION

Demonstrations against new citizenship legislation are taking place in parts of the country. Violent clashes have occurred between demonstrators and security forces.

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, preventing gatherings of more than four people, has been imposed in some areas. Other restrictions may be put in place without notice.

  • Expect disruptions to transportation and communications (Internet and cellular services) in some areas
  • Monitor local media for updated information on locations affected by demonstrations
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Check with your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will affect your travel plans

JAMMU AND KASHMIR (SEE ADVISORY)

On August 5, 2019, the Government of India announced constitutional changes that affected the internal political status of Jammu and Kashmir. Security forces have increased their presence. Internet services are limited in several areas. Movement restrictions may be put in place without notice. Monitor local news and follow the instructions of local authorities.

There are risks of civil disorder and acts of terrorism in many districts of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Indian army has special powers in this state. The security threat level remains high.

There are sporadic violent clashes between militants and Indian security forces. There are also occasional terrorist attacks against Indian security forces, in the Kashmir valley and Jammu region of the state. Civilians have been killed or injured during such attacks. You could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

BORDER WITH PAKISTAN (SEE ADVISORY)

A strong military presence remains on both sides of the Line of Control (the military control line between India and Pakistan).

Unmarked border areas, landmines and unexploded munitions constitute a risk. Cross-border gunfire and shelling occur sporadically along the LoC.

TERRORISM

There is a threat of terrorism.

Be particularly vigilant during election periods and in the lead-up to and

during times of national significance, such as Diwali, Eid, Republic Day (January 26) and Independence Day (August 15). Be aware of your surroundings at all times in public places. If you see a suspicious package, immediately leave the area and report the package to authorities.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

INSURGENCY

Maoist extremist groups, known as Naxalites, are most active in areas identified by the Government of India as left-wing extremist states, which include:

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Bihar
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Jharkhand
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Odisha
  • Telangana
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • West Bengal

Naxalites, who are responsible for the majority of terrorist attacks in India are usually based in rural and forested areas within the left-wing extremist affected states. There are frequent bombings and attacks by extremist groups in the northeastern state of Manipur. The Manipur-Mayanmar, Assam-Bangladesh, Nagaland-Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh-Myanmar border areas are also affected by insurgency.

Extremist groups almost always target government and security forces, and sometimes, trains and railway tracks. While tourists have not been specifically targeted, bystanders can be affected.Since 2012, Naxalites have kidnapped 3 foreigners when they entered into areas controlled by them. 

CRIME

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.

SCAMS

Scams involving the export of jewels and carpets have occurred. Taxi drivers may approach you offering money to export such items.

Don’t accept any offer, no matter how convincing. Beware of offers for cheap transportation or accommodation, extended taxi rides and unwanted tours.

More about overseas fraud

PIRACY

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre

DEMONSTRATIONS AND CIVIL UNREST

DEMONSTRATIONS

Street demonstrations by the general public and inter-communal tensions are frequent and may occur quickly. Even peaceful gathering can turn violent at any time. In the past, some have resulted in fatalities.

Demonstrations can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

CURFEWS

Local authorities can impose curfews and other mobility restrictions on short notice. This may cause significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

You should respect the imposed curfews.

GENERAL STRIKES

General strikes, or “bandh,” can result in major disruptions to transportation and tourist-related services. These events sometimes lead to unrest and can leave tourists stranded.

STAMPEDES

Stampedes have occurred during events with large crowds, including religious ceremonies, and have resulted in deaths and injuries.

SPIKED FOOD AND DRINKS

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

WOMEN’S SAFETY

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Reports of serious assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreign women have increased. Staring, vulgar comments and groping are not uncommon. Foreign women are often a target for unwanted attention.

  • Avoid travelling alone, particularly at night, on public transportation, taxis and auto-rickshaws
  • Avoid less populous and unlit areas, including city streets, village lanes and beaches
  • Respect local customs
  • Reach police immediately if you feel threatened

Safe-travel guide for women

TREKKING

There are no commercial mountain rescue services operating above 3,000 metres. If you intend on trekking:

  • ensure your insurance policy covers you for altitudes over 2,400 metres as well as mountain rescue and helicopter costs
  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that You’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes

ROAD SAFETY

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Most roads, including major highways, are poorly maintained. There is severe traffic congestion.

Drivers do not respect traffic laws. They are often aggressive or reckless. They often use the horn or flash the headlights to let other drivers know they’re there.

  • Avoid travelling outside urban centres after dark
  • Avoid any travel by motorcycle or scooter
  • Be very careful when crossing the street, even at pedestrian crossings

TRAVEL BY ROAD TO PAKISTAN

The four roads between India and Pakistan are highly restricted. Border crossings (road and rail) are open on a limited basis only.  Contact border authorities before travelling to Pakistan.

Travel Advice and Advisories for Pakistan

ACCIDENTS

There is a possibility of mob anger when accidents cause serious injury to a person or a cow.

In such cases, remain in your vehicle and drive to the nearest police station to report the accident.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

TRAINS

Rail accidents are common in India, mostly due to poor maintenance. Air and rail traffic in northern India is sometimes affected by cancellations and rescheduling in December and January, due to fog or smog.

TAXIS

If you use a taxi, try to get it from a reputable hotel.

  • Use only officially marked taxis
  • Pre-negotiate the fare or ask the metre be turned on when available

MARITIME TRANSPORTATION

Maritime accidents are also common and are often caused by poor safety practices. Don’t board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines