State Department Urges Americans to Say Out of Kashmir
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department is again warning Americans to stay out of Kashmir, where Islamic militants are holding an American and three European tourists hostage in an area long disputed between India and Pakistan.
``The Kashmir valley and surrounding mountains, in particular, are subject to terrorist activities and violent civil disturbances,″ the department said in a statement. It strongly urged private citizens not to travel there.
American Donald Hutchings, 42, of Spokane, Wash., has been held captive since July 4. After the Indian government refused to release jailed militants, Hutchings’ captors murdered a Norwegian taken with him. They still hold two Britons and a German in addition to the American.
The State Department warning issued Wednesday said the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India’s capital, has ordered mission personnel to stay out of Jammu and Kashmir without special embassy permission.
Until pro-Pakistani guerrillas took up arms to end Indian dominance in the former principality, the scenic Kashmir valley was a traditional haven for tourists. The State Department issued an earlier warning July 13.