India Public Announcement
Issued by US Department of State
Mar 01, 2002
This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens to a
"bandh" (general strike) scheduled for March 1 in Maharashtra State. The
Consulate General in Mumbai will be closed to the public on March 1.
Strikes and unrest are also threatened in the states of Gujarat and Uttar
Pradesh. This Announcement expires on March 28, 2002.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu nationalist organization, has
declared a "bandh" (general strike) in the State of Maharashtra for Friday,
March 1. The strike will protest a mob attack on a train on February 27 in
the eastern Gujarat city of Godhra that left as many as
58 people dead. Most of those killed were VHP supporters. Scattered
retaliatory mob violence has occurred in Gujarat, and further outbreaks of
violence or demonstrations could occur in other areas in coming days.
Thousands of Hindu activists demanding that the government allow
construction to begin at a proposed temple site in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh,
have converged on Ayodhya. Preliminary work in the area on pre-fabricated
components of the temple has raised Hindu-Muslim tensions.
Due to increased tensions and the high risk of violence, U.S. citizens are
strongly urged to avoid travel to Ayodhya or its surrounding areas. Because
of the uncertainties surrounding strikes, Americans in Gujarat and
Maharashtra States should limit their movements during strikes and are
advised to exercise caution in public areas and avoid demonstrations.
In the past, such strikes have disrupted public services, including public
transportation and taxis, particularly in large cities such as Mumbai.
Spontaneous demonstrations may also occur. The U.S. Consulate General in
Mumbai will be closed for routine consular services, including visa
processing, on Friday, March 1. American citizens who need emergency
services may call the Consulate General at telephone (022) 363-3611.
For further information regarding travel to India, U.S. citizens should
consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for India at
Internet address http://travel.state.gov.