Goa Tourism is again in news for wrong reasons. The violation and murder of a child of British origin has reopened a host of issues on sustainable development of tourism sector specially in that small state. NDTV hosted a panel discussion under screaming headlines “Whether Goa’s underbelly is exposed ?” . Despite of the fiery oratory of TV anchor and some mini fire works from local intellectuals during the discussion, the core issues were still left wide open.
Goan beaches have for long offered attraction not only to the newly weds , courting couples as well as lovers in suicide pact but also to criminals of various origins and tastes. Mention of crime on beaches brings back memories of Bikni Killer days of mid seventies when a compulsive murderer Chalres Shobhraj due to his serial killing of unsuspecting tourists on Goan beaches had become an international icon in the crime world.
The NDTV panel discussion surprisingly included Ms. Bina Ramani whose involvement in covering up the famous Jessica Lal murder case was topic of similar fiery discussions quite recently . Her inclusion as opinion giver also highlighted the fact that the memory of our media is rather short and issues are dealt with rather superficially. More so because at the time when Bina Ramani was arrested at Goa , the local press was quick to condemn her along with all those so called dubious persons of her kind who settle at Goa in the name of business.
The queen of ceremony during the discussions was the mother of the murdered child seated in the centre and given the privilege of firing indiscriminately at all and sundry. The lady who boasts of eight children sired by her four male companions, innocently pleaded that the fourteen year child was not a drug addict but occasionally indulged into intake of marijuana. The lady it seems has all of a sudden developed a very dim view of Goa Police and has been threatening to blow the lid off certain drug running racket but has apparently not done any thing in that direction so far. T
he debate as always veers around the issue as to how safe are the Goan beaches. A plump local politician boasted that he feels safe even while roaming around the midnight without any security guards. The funny statement was reflective of mind set of ruling Goan politicians and their inability to appreciate humanitarian issues. Who would molest or assault a person of his bearing? Or whether he could be the target of harassment or cause of fear for someone while roaming around the streets at midnight ? This single comment thus also gave some hint about the real suspects in the game.
The fact that on the very next day a female tourist faced sexual harassment in Pushkar and subsequently complaints popped up from Russian tourists at Mumbai regarding similar difficulties, indicated that the crisis is not confined to Goa alone. Fairly well known incidents of ruthless killing involving persons of decent origin like Shivani Bhatnagar , Jessical Lal and Nitish Katara by well connected goons in and around Delhi and the case in which a Swiss diplomat suffered abduction and assault in broad daylight coupled with the fact that the culprits are yet to be punished underlines the conclusion that such questions can be raised about the National Capital also. The long drawn series of murders of young children at Nithari and abduction and release of the child of an executive in a multinational at Noida bear testimony to the standards of safety of human life in adjoining areas. Clearly enough the underbelly Is exposed at a number of other places too. Then why single out Goa?
The reason for this concern is that in Goa there has been an unprecedented deterioration in quality of life due to unabated influx of semi clad, back pack tourists. Who are these people and what is their special interest in Goa ? Where are they rushing in half naked conditions on motorcycles and scooters. Certainly enough it is not only the Sun and Sand which draw more than two million tourists to Goa. Is it not that the benign attitude of upholders of law and their unwillingness or inability to venture out in the field acts as a catalyst for facilitating inflow of tourists with business interests of dubious kind. And could a system of such unprofessional standards have survived if the political patronage was not available ? These are some questions which the Goan society would have to address to itself if it wants to reinvent the paradise that Goa was in the past.