September 26, 2016 10:17:05 pm
In the backdrop of the acquittal of the duo accused in the death of 15-year old British national Scarlett-Kneeling, whose body was found floating at Anjuna beach in 2008, the question of visitors safety continues to revisit the tourist state. While terming the judgement as ‘unfortunate’, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar added that it would not hamper the image of the coastal tourist state.
As per the relying submitted by the state government in the floor of the house it can be concluded that between 2005 and 2015 – investigation agencies in the state have said that 260 foreign tourists from 43 nations have died out of ‘unnatural cause’. Among them, 76 were British Nationals (second highest foreign visitors to the state) of whom 18 were women. The other foreign nationals in the consecutive list of unnatural deaths include those from- Russia (48), Nepal (18), Ukraine (13) and Germany (5).
While the case status of 158 unnatural deaths of foreigners (2005-2011) was not substantiated, in a separate reply CM Parsekar (additional charge as Home Minister) submitted that in such cases (between 2012 and 2015) 67 cases were under inquiry, 13 were concluded as accidental drowning, 7 cases pending trial and 2 were concluded as suicides by the investigation agencies.
In specific to the cases of foreigners’ deaths – highest unnatural deaths were reported at Calungute and Anjuna region, while Calangute station recorded 93 unnatural deaths and 62 such cases were reported at Anjuna police station limits.
While the state witness over 5 lakh foreign tourist each year, Tourism Minister, Dileep Parulekar said that at present there were merely 10 ex-serviceman deployed as tourist warden’s under Tourist Security Force (TSF) which was specifically raised to tackle crimes and inconvenience for the tourist. However, he clarified that an addition of over 100 police personnel from Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), headed by an Superintendent of Police (SP) were patrolling the tourist hotspots for protection of the visitors.
The Minister replied in negative when queried if the state government took any measures to spread awareness of the TSF to the visitors. However, he said that the government may consider it.
In one of her final remarks following the verdict by the Goa Children’s Court on Friday, 52-year old Fiona Mackeown, (mother of Scarlett-Kneeling) said that if any international tourist comes to Goa and gets murdered, they have no hope for justice in this system. According to her legal counsel Vikram Varma – Fiona had not yet received the order copy as it is being written, but Fiona is due to return to UK early this week.
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