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A first-hand account of abuse at the hands of Goan police

A first-hand account of abuse at the hands of Goan police
Armstrong Vaz, 30 March 2008, Sunday
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The murder of British teenager, Scarlet Keeling, in Goa's Anjuna's
beach has once again exposed Goa police's corrupt practices. These
policemen tortures and abuses the tourists, both physically and
mentally, if they refuse to give them bribe.

Merinews Photos

IF FIFTEEN years back, my American friends Mike and Cindy, vowed never
to come back to India again, they had a reason. The American-based
jurist was badly battered by a policeman, Shankar, attached to Colva
police station in South Goa, coastal village of Benaulim, for refusing
to pay bribe. He complained to the embassy and attached the paper
cutting of the local newspapers and left the matter to that, before
taking the next flight out of India.

The death of Scarlet Keeling, the British teenager, on the notorious
former hippie paradise beach of Anjuna, has seen hundreds of news
stories being published both in the print media and on the Internet,
focusing on Goa's bad vices of tourism, which hereto, no one had
touched on such a large scale. Internet forums are also full of
stories of abuse at the hands of police and foreigners vowing, not to
return to India and also urging others not to go, by saying-"the
experience is not worth the trouble."

While the tourism departments, both at the centre and at the state
level are trying to build India's tourism image in the face of rapes
and murders of tourists, the disgusting behaviour of the Indian police
towards tourists continues.

Here is an account of what a tourist 'Des', faced from a corrupt
police officer in South Goa beach last year and he said, "From first
hand experience, I have suffered at the hands of the Goan Police,
using and abusing those that it is meant to protect.
"I feel 'Goa police is just interested in protecting Goa'. Because Goa
has nothing to trade and the only thing that keeps it alive is, by
making money out of the tourism industry.

"Goa's notorious corrupt police and officials are only interested in
lining their own pockets and protecting their own interests.

"Police would never admit that this could have and probably was an act
of a Goan, but instead with their racist bigoted narrow minded views,
choose to blame an outsider, like that makes a difference. The act was
committed in Goa and it was the Goan police and officials who tried to
cover it up, instead of trying to find the truth.

"I was in Goa last year, where I was the victim of police corruption.
Police Inspector, Uday Parab from Colva police station, attempted to
extort 10 lakh from me and when I refused to pay I was beaten for
three days, refused food and water, made to sleep on a urine soaked
floor and was not allowed to contact anyone to inform them of my
situation, until, I signed a confession that they had written saying
'I had a sexual experience with a 25 year old man' (homosexuality is
illegal in Goa and carries a sentence of life imprisonment).

"I then went on to spend a further month in judicial lockup, while the
police claimed to be presenting their case.

"However, due to the fact that there was no forensic evidence, no
witness and no other person that this act was meant to have taken
place with, the case was kicked out of court.

"The case that Goa police had attempted to build was purely fabricated.

"In the seven years, I have been going to Goa. I never had a problem,
but now the police have turned violently on tourists, in order to
boost their income by extorting tourist by abuse, assault and planting
evidence and threatening the tourist with imprisonment. I was one of
them, fortunate enough to escape this trauma but there are many, many
more people that are going through this now in Goa and not speaking
out about it, just coming home and vowing never to return."

Patrick Malluzzo, is just another example of police corruption in
India. This 27 year old has spent the last five years in an Indian
jail and is still fighting for his freedom, after what should have
been an experience of a lifetime, turned into a nightmare, after
police arrested him and he was jailed on false charges.

I would advise anyone thinking about going to India to think again,
the experience is not worth, what it might cost you in the long run.
Most of the trade out there, involves child labour, extortion and
corruption.

Fiona, the mother of Scarlet, should be receiving all the support and
help she can.

Deal with the problems, the real issues and support this woman and her
family, its hard when you lose someone you love, but to have them
taken away in such a vicious savage way and then have the Goa police
lie and try to cover it up, is disgusting.

I also believe that in a desperate attempt to put this matter to rest,
the Goan police have just arrested anyone they know, who is of an
almost non-existent income and from another state to take the fall for
this crime, because confessions are easy to come by when you are
beaten, starved and tortured. We should show our support and
solidarity for her and people like Patrick Malluzzo.

I will never visit Goa again and would advise everyone to stay away
from there. I lost much more than, what I gained from the experience.

The corruption that runs through Indian culture is so deep and so
ingrained; people will sell their own mother to keep the power and
wealth, they have attained. The fact that even the highest court in
your land is as corrupt as your local tourist police station, which
said that the mother (Fiona) needs all the help and support she can,
muster to get her message out that this girl's life was taken because
the killers believed in their false protection from the buy-able local
police.
It is a sick and sorry land that I have seen deteriorating over the
last ten years. So rapid has this been that I will never visit it's
shores again and advise all who ask me never to tread on this Goan
land, while it remains so corrupt.
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