Centre reacts to assault on Swiss tourists in UP

Centre reacts to assault on Swiss tourists in UP

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday asked for a report from the Government of Uttar Pradesh after a mob assaulted a Swiss couple at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra.

K J Alphons, Union minister of state for tourism (independent charge), also wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, conveying that such incidents can be detrimental to the efforts to draw more tourists from around the world to India.

Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, a member of the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, said the assault on the Swiss tourists in Agra is "a matter of shame".

The strong reaction from the Centre came even as two of the four youths who assaulted the couple on Sunday were arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police.

"I have just seen this. I have asked for a report from the State Government," Swaraj tweeted, reacting to media reports on the assault on Quentin Jeremy Clerc and Marie Droxz, who are natives of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Sushma also sent Ministry of External Affairs officials to meet Quentin and Marie at the Appollo Hospital in New Delhi.

Quentin, who suffered injuries in his head and one of his ears, is undergoing treatment there. The doctors said his condition was improving and that he had been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit.

Marie was discharged from the hospital after undergoing treatment for a fracture in her arm. Quentin and Marie were chased and attacked by four youths who were armed with sticks and stones.

The incident took place near the Fatehpur Sikri railway station. The assailants first taunted the young tourists and then forced the two to pose for selfies with them. They later turned violent and assaulted the couple.

The Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi said it was providing support to the victims. The embassy, however, clarified that it would not be able to provide any further information in this regard "for reasons of privacy and data protection".

In his letter to Adityanath, Alphons wrote, "You would kindly appreciate that such incidents negatively impact our image and are detrimental to our efforts in promoting India as a tourism destination."

"A fast and speedy response in identifying and ensuring speedy action, including conviction of the guilty, would be reassuring, as also a good message of our efforts to prevent recurrence of such incidents," the Union minister added in his letter.

"It is unfortunate and it should not have happened. It is a matter of shame for us," Sharma said.

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