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A Chat With 3 Canadian Tourists: ‘People here are so helpful, generous’

Last week, five men were sentenced to imprisonment till death for raping a Danish woman in the capital, and a Congolese national was ‘assaulted’. As the question of how safe, or not, Delhi is remains in sharp focus, we take a look at crimes against foreigners, steps taken by police and why many continue to visit this ‘fantastic’ place

Written by Alok Singh | New Delhi | Published: June 13, 2016 6:44:36 am
Louise Billom, Manon Aubin and Johanne Bourdelais. Praveen Khanna Louise Billom, Manon Aubin and Johanne Bourdelais. Praveen Khanna

“I love this country so much,” says Louise Billom, a tourist from Canada who is visiting India for the seventh time in 10 years.

On whether she feels safe in this country, Billom says, “Earlier, I used to feel a bit unsafe, but the situation is gradually changing. People here are so helpful.”

Billom is accompanied by her friends Manon Aubin and Johanne Bourdelais. Back home, Billom works as a nurse, Aubin is a software engineer and Bourdelais is an accountant.

“Our government had told us to be careful while visiting India,” says Aubin, adding that so far, the trip had been “fantastic”.

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They have already visited Agra, Varanasi and Leh. In Delhi, they are staying in a rented room in central Delhi’s Paharganj. Within barely half a mile of their current location is the spot where a Danish woman was raped by six persons in 2014.

The three Canadians said they had read about the case, adding, “But we have not faced any problem anywhere.”

“Here, people are so helpful and generous. We visited so many cities… even police are helpful. We don’t even carry mobile phones but we have not faced any problems,” says Bourdelais. Says her friend Billom, “It is a safe visit.” She adds, “We are in touch with our family through e-mails.”

Neither of them were aware of the Delhi Police helpline meant for foreigners; the only number they knew was the police emergency number: 100. They said in case of an emergency, they would contact their embassy.

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