I saw a news item on a foreign tourist who has reported to the police about a case of sexual assault on her in Goa. The tourist was duped by a youth posing as motorcycle taxi operator in late hours and led to an isolated place for committing of this crime. The tourist who was looking for a lift around 10 PM has no idea about the place where she was taken and also failed to note down the number of the motorcycle on which the youth had given her a lift.
Goa has normally been considered as a very safe station for tourists and given the liberal culture of place and the large numbers in which tourist are seen roaming around the beaches and in the city during all parts of the year, the incident comes as an aberration. Normally the foreign offices of various countries give reasonable amount of guidance to their tourists about dos and don’ts in alien places but tourists are bound to ignore security instruction while trying to corner maximum enjoyment out of their stay in a place like Goa.
It is also worth remembering that while enjoying the exciting lifestyle of Goa a very large number of tourists crowd the hotspots in extremely provocative manner. The nightbazars of Goa which I have seen on a recent visit are like a foreign territory . During our visit there were only a handful of Indians in a crowd of hundreds of tourists indulging into drinking ,dancing ,eating and roaming around till late hours. A person seeing this scantily clad group of men and women with all the arrogance of the white man would be quick to form a very dim view about the status of civilization of these so called guests of the country and a semiliterate motorcycle driver may deviate from pattern of normal behaviour on being witness to such crude behaviour.
However nothing can justify a crime of this nature and prompt action against the accused would be the only solution to avert the possibility of recurrence of similar incidents in future. More so because Goa being solely dependant on tourism for the sustainability of it’s economy, can ill afford to loose even a fraction of tourists by such adverse publicity. Goa I remember has an active union of tour and travel operators. The union should try to ensure that the taxi operators are all registered with them after proper screening and all genuine operators should be given their logo and identification tag which a tourist could be able to ask for before taking a ride .
The Tourists also need to be cautious and alert in their own interest. Remember it was Goa which was once the killing field of the notorious bikini killer Charles Shobhraj.