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Thursday, 14 November, 2002, 15:46 GMT
Security tight for India camel fair
Traders at Pushkar camel fair
Traders are worried about economic impact of the warnings
Police in the Indian state of Rajasthan say security has been reinforced in the town of Pushkar ahead of a camel fair which opens on Thursday.

The new arrangements follow warnings issued by the British and American embassies in India about a potential terrorist threat at the annual event.


The threat could not stop the flow of foreign tourists in Pushkar

Mithilesh, hotel owner
Known as the Pushkar Mela, the colourful week-long fair attracts thousands of Indian and foreign tourists.

Despite the warnings, fair organisers say the number of foreign tourists in Pushkar is up on last year and that the situation is normal.

A BBC reporter in Rajasthan says many tourists appear to be unaware of the travel advisories.

State of alert

Special commandos have been deployed at strategic points in the temple town in an unprecedented show of security, local police say.

"A security ring has been thrown around the fair venue in Pushkar; people are being frisked and vehicles are being thoroughly checked," inspector general of police AK Jain said.

Fair authorities say 16,000 people have already arrived for the world's largest camel fair and that more people are expected.

Mithilesh, a local hotel owner, said: "The threat could not stop the flow of foreign tourists in Pushkar."

But another local trader said the advisory would cast a shadow over economic aspects of the fair.

Tourism blow

Both the US and British embassies say that while they have no indication of a specific threat to their citizens, they advise against attending the fair.

Scene at a previous fair
The colourful fair will go on for a week
The British Foreign Office travel advice says "Pushkar Mela... is assessed as being a potential target of terrorist activity".

The warning is being seen as a further blow to Indian tourism, which has been badly hit since last year's 11 September attacks in the United States, and as a result of regional tensions.

Since the Bali bombing last month, the US and UK governments have increased warnings to their nationals abroad.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott
"Indian security officials believe the festival is a potential terrorist target"
See also:

13 Nov 02 | South Asia
23 Jul 02 | Business
14 Jun 02 | Business
12 Oct 01 | Business
05 Nov 02 | Business
09 Nov 00 | South Asia
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