Crimes against tourists in focus at Goa tourism roadshow

Panaji, March 5 (IANS) The Goa government is ‘worried about the security of tourists’, a top state official said as speakers at the launch of the union tourism ministry’s roadshow on domestic tourism here Friday voiced similar concern.

Speaking at the launch of the roadshow, Goa Chief Secretary Sanjeev Srivastava referred to the recent incidents of crimes against foreigners, and said that the ‘one or two incidents’ have already been dealt with.

The launch was attended by tourism industry stakeholders from across the country.

‘As chief secretary, I have been asked about the hiccups in the security aspect. One or two incidents have happened, where we have taken effective steps to curb it. The government is worried about the security of tourists. We already have a beach safety programme in place,’ Srivastava said.

In cases where tourists are involved, the government was making efforts to ensure quick, speedy and effective justice, he added.

Goa Tourism Secretary M. Modassir also said that adverse publicity vis a vis crimes against foreigners had not helped the image of the state.

‘We have been through a tough phase. Adverse publicity, some controversies or the other also happen. We are trying to sort it out,’ Modassir said, adding that beach patrolling was being stretched to midnight in a bid to stamp out crimes against tourists.

Crimes against foreign tourists have given Goa a notorious reputation ever since British teenager Scarlett Keeling was raped and murdered on Anjuna beach a couple of years back.

Since then Goa, which attracts half a million foreign tourists annually, has seen a string of crimes including rapes, murders and mysterious deaths of foreign nationals.

The union tourism ministry had to ask the Goa government to pull up its socks recently, after a minor Russian girl was raped by two youngsters at Arambol beach, 45 km from here.

Reeling under the spate of crimes, the Goa government was forced to look at innovative security mechanisms, one of which involves setting up of a tourist police force, manned by former servicemen.

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