A pro-Pakistan insurgent group attacked a hotel full of Indian tourists in Pahalgam, Kashmir June 12, killing five and wounding 23, then warned all tourists to stay away from Kashmir. A record 100,000 tourists have visited the valley this year, prompting militants to try to scare them away. Two major separatist groups condemned the attack on civilians, but a third said “tourists should pack and leave.” After the attack authorities placed heavy security around guest houses, hotels and houseboats at Dal Lake, Kashmir’s most popular tourist spot. Few Americans have ventured to Kashmir since separatist attacks began in 1989, but in the past year the political thaw between India and Pakistan has raised hopes that soon the valley’s troubles may be over.
Americans have been barred from entering two mosques in Lucknow that are replicas of the Shia shrines in Najaf and Karbala in Iraq. The mosques, the large and small Imambaras, are Lucknow’s most popular tourist attractions, and administrators have banned Americans because of what they consider desecration of the shrines in Iraq by U.S. forces.