MEA advises touring Indians to exercise ‘care & caution’ in Sri Lanka

New Delhi: The External Affairs Ministry on Thursday said Indian tourists going to Sri Lanka should exercise ‘care and caution’ and consider all factors, including convertibility of currency and availability of fuel, before visiting the crisis-struck island.
In response to another question of forced conversion of a Sikh woman in Pakistan, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India has been raising the issue of atrocities on minorities with the Pakistan government from time to time. He also accused the neighbouring country of religious intolerance.
At the weekly briefing of the External Affairs Ministry, Spokesperson said India still was the source of the largest number of tourists going to Sri Lanka.
“We have been following these developments there for some time. Our understanding is that Indians are still the largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka,” said Bagchi.
“Safety and wellbeing of Indian nationals outside India is always of prime importance. Our endeavour is to prevent any untoward incident involving Indians outside India,” Bagchi added.
“Our understanding is that Indians are still the largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka. We would ,therefore, urge Indians to exercise all care and caution while in Sri Lanka. They should examine all relevant factors, including currency convertibility, and fuel situation, before undertaking any essential travel to Sri Lanka,” he said.
Asked about reports of forced conversion of a Sikh woman Dina Kaur in Pakistan, the MEA Spokesperson said Indian government has been raising the issue of discrimination against minorities in Pakistan with their government.
“We have seen reports regarding the kidnapping and forced marriage of Dina Kaur, a Sikh woman from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. From our perspective these instances reveal the atmosphere of insecurity faced by religious minorities in Pakistan. Government of India has been raising these issues through diplomatic channels with Pakistan, and we call upon government of Pakistan to end such discriminatory approach towards minorities,” Bagchi said.
He said it was also reported that the Police refused to file an FIR.
“It  is shocking to see such further levels of religious intolerance in Pakistan. The apathy of law enforcement agencies towards religious minorities is of course part of that system. This is yet another instance of religious persecution faced by minority communities in Pakistan,” he said.

Bagchi also mentioned similar other incidents, and said, “As you are aware there have been similar incidents of attack on minorities in Pakistan in recent past including two Sikh traders in Peshawar in May, killing of an 18-years old Hindu girl for resisting abduction in March 2022, and there was a brutal murder of a Christian pastor in Peshawar in February.”
“From our perspective these instances reveal the atmosphere of insecurity faced by religious minorities in Pakistan and we condemn the targeting of minorities there. Government of India has been raising these issues through diplomatic channels with Pakistan, and we call upon government of Pakistan to end such discriminatory approach towards minorities,” he said.
UNI

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