Australians planning to travel have been cautioned once again, this time concerning a region in India, Manipur where escalating violence and deteriorating order have become concerning factors.
The government’s travel advisory body, Smart Traveller, has advised travellers to seriously consider their plans to visit Manipur, a northeastern state in India that has been grappling with ongoing ethnic clashes since May.
The advisory reads, “Curfews and restrictions continue in parts of Manipur following violent demonstrations, resulting in casualties. Security agencies have increased their presence in the region. Mobile internet services remain suspended, and transport services have been disrupted”.
“Further restrictions may be imposed at short notice. If you’re in Manipur, avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities, take official warnings seriously and monitor local media for updates.”
As of the latest update on August 14, significant alterations have been made to the travel advisories for India’s northeastern states, specifically Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur. These regions now hold the distinction of having the third-highest level of travel warning assigned to them, prompting Australian travellers to thoroughly reconsider their plans to visit these areas.
The Australian government has already instituted a “do not travel” advisory for the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which lies along the India-Pakistan border. Additionally, a general cautionary note has been issued for the entirety of India, urging travellers to exercise a substantial degree of vigilance.
The ongoing clashes in Manipur, spanning back to early May, have resulted in a tragic toll. The confrontations between two predominant ethnic groups have tragically claimed the lives of over 150 individuals, and the aftermath has led to the displacement of more than 50,000 people.
Adding to the distressing situation, a distressing incident came to light recently where a video exposed the assault on two women, paraded naked and subjected to groping, within the state.
The roots of the conflict in Manipur can be traced back to a dispute between the minority Christian Kukis and the predominantly Hindu Meiteis. This discord was ignited by the Meiteis’ demand for a distinct status that would grant them the ability to purchase land in the hills inhabited by the Kukis and other tribal groups. This contention also encompasses aspirations for a share of government employment opportunities.
As the situation remains complex and unsettling, authorities emphasise the importance of staying informed and heeding official advisories when considering travel plans to these regions.
The Australian government has also taken a fresh approach to its travel guidance concerning the United States, particularly with regard to Maui, in light of the recent wildfire outbreak.
Travellers intending to visit Maui in the immediate future are being advised by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in conjunction with the Australian government, to consider reevaluating their plans. The suggestion is to potentially reschedule their travel arrangements for a later period when the overall situation is more favourable.
The official update highlights that visitors who have upcoming plans for West Maui in the forthcoming weeks and months are strongly recommended to reassess their travel intentions. It is recommended to opt for a later time when the prevailing circumstances have shown improvement.
This advisory comes in response to the ongoing wildfires that have taken hold in Maui. The situation is being closely monitored, and both local and international authorities are focused on managing and mitigating the impacts of the wildfires.
It’s important to note that travel plans to the remaining Hawaiian Islands, including Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Lānaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island, remain unaffected by the current situation in Maui. As the situation evolves, further updates will be provided to ensure the safety and well-being of travellers.