Violent shores

Goa is in the news yet again for all the wrong reasons. A Russian girl has been raped allegedly by a local politician and the police have threatened her to withdraw charges against him. It does seem that a massive attempt at cover-up is on to let the alleged rapist off the hook. Adding insult to injury is a statement by a Goan Member of Parliament (MP) shifting the onus of responsibility for the rape to the victim. This brings back memories of another unpleasant incident last year when a 15-year-old British girl was raped and killed in Goa. Then too, authorities sought to hush up the case by trying to make it out to be an accident and they blamed the victim’s lifestyle for the rape. This is not just an absurd argument, it is dangerous. By blaming the victim, the government is shifting the focus away from the person who committed the crime and absolving itself too of responsibility for allowing an environment to thrive where rape and murder happen often. It is the responsibility of the Goa government to ensure security for all, whatever their lifestyle may be. And in the event of crime, it should investigate it thoroughly and bring the guilty to book.
It has failed to do so repeatedly.

Famous for its sunny beaches and laid back lifestyle, Goa was once an idyllic place. It has now earned itself the tag of ‘rape capital.’ It has become a haven for all kinds of criminal activity including illegal land deals, peddling of hard drugs, rape and murder. And all this happens under the benign gaze of the police. It is well known that various criminal mafias operate in Goa with the full protection, if not participation of the local police and politicians.

Goa’s politicians and police have repeatedly failed the state — its heritage, environment and people. A couple of years ago, a powerful people’s movement emerged in Goa to step in where the state had failed. It was successful in forcing the government to stop the setting up Special Economic Zones that were a threat to the state’s ecology and environment. The time has come for another people’s movement, this one to rid Goa of its sleaze and crime. The clean-up of Goa will not be easy. The dirt is deeply entrenched and the sleaze has powerful patrons. Yet it is not impossible to achieve if people join hands to act.

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