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MESSAGES TO U.S. CITIZENS

Warden Message: Possible Civil Unrest

 

American Citizens Services
U.S. Consulate General
220 Anna Salai, Chennai 600 006, India
Telephone: 91-44-2857-4000; Facsimile: 91-44-2857-4344
E-mail: chennaics@state.gov website: http://chennai.usconsulate.gov

April 24, 2011

Dear U.S. citizens:

We bring this message to your attention so you can carefully consider the information it contains.  Please pass along the information below to the U.S. citizens in your area.  Thank you for your cooperation. 

Possible Civil Unrest

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to anticipate possible civil unrest around Anantapur in southern Andhra Pradesh following the death on April 24th of the religious leader Sathya Sai Baba. We recommend U.S. citizens avoid traveling to Puttaparthi in Anantapur, as well as Whitefield (Bangalore) and Kodai Kanal, Tamil Nadu, the sites of two other ashrams, due to the possibility of demonstrations or crowd control issues arising in the emotionally charged atmosphere.

Sai Baba’s death will be a source of grief for many of his followers, and the area around Anantapur has seen public expressions of mourning as a large number of people wishing to pay their respects have arrived in the area. State police have shifted significant security resources to the area and have established barricades in the area around the Prashanthi Nilayam ashram, where they are inspecting travel documents of many visitors. Police have implemented Section 144 prohibitions forbidding public gatherings and many commercial establishments are closed.

Devotees of Sai Baba in Hyderabad and other cities may also express their grief publicly. Although we expect no violence, American citizens are warned to maintain their security awareness and follow the standard guidance of avoiding large public gatherings. Processions or spontaneous events may block routes through the city unpredictably.

U.S. citizens resident or traveling in Andhra Pradesh, Bangalore and Kodai Kanal during this period are reminded to maintain a high level of security awareness at all times and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and large crowds of any kind. U.S. citizens should monitor the situation via media sources, including TV, radio, and via the Internet.

U.S. citizens in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

For additional information, please refer to A Safe Trip Abroad.

For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Travel website, where they can find the Worldwide Caution, Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1 888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

 U.S. citizens with questions or concerns may contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Embassy or the Consulates General for further information: