Has Goa turned into a hell for tourists?

Updated: May 13, 2019, 14:25 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Finnish woman seeking justice for nephew allegedly murdered in the state, says deaths of Western vacationers are covered up by authorities in order to save its reputation as a safe holiday destination

Has Goa turned into a hell for tourists?
Sanna Cutter has observed statistics on the Goa police's website between October 16, 2018 and April 17, 2019. (Right) IGP Goa Jaspal Singh says the figures might be similar or more in other states, which are frequented by a large number of tourists

A finnish woman has alleged that tourists' deaths, especially those of Western tourists in Goa, are covered up by the authorities to save the state's reputation as a safe holiday destination. Fifty-five-year old Sanna Cutter has been fighting hard to find her nephew's alleged murderer in Goa for the past four years. Her observations of the statistics on unclaimed bodies found in Goa raise concerns about her allegations.

Over 100 plus deaths (111) have been tagged as 'unidentified' and these bodies have been found between October 16, 2018 and April 17, 2019. Cutter said, "It seems there were 111 unidentified bodies found in Goa during this period. There are two bodies of foreigners with their photos on the Goa police website. The data was compiled by me and my sister, Minna Pirohnen, mother of late Felix."

Also read: No new social security schemes to be launched in Goa: Pramod Sawant

The statistics
Cutter said, "I counted the numbers police station wise on the Goa police site during that period, the cases without photos etc. We know for a fact that if families phone the police stations in search of their missing relatives, there is no help from the police. We spoke to a man in London who had been looking for his missing son James (Jimmy) Durkin in Goa. He told us that he had to go through the morgues as the police just kept telling him that no foreigner's body had been found. He finally identified his son's body by the tattoos. He had been brutally murdered."

Police

When asked if she was surprised with the number of unidentified bodies, Cutter said, "I wasn't surprised with the data. Also, the Goa police website is very slow. The fact is, that anything to do with tourists' deaths, and especially with western tourist deaths will be covered up by the authorities in Goa. This is done to save the name of Goa as a safe holiday destination, which it isn't."

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Speaking about Felix's case, she said, "The CBI has been actively investigating Felix's case since it was passed on to them by The Bombay High Court, few months ago." Advocate Rajdeep Lahiri, who represents the family in India said, "The CBI is making a good headway in Felix's case."

Police speak
Speaking to mid-day, Inspector General of Police, Goa, Jaspal Singh said, "These numbers do not depict a trend nor raise any concern, as these are mostly vagabonds, roadside urchins or beggars, and have died of death due to hunger or some ailments. These figures remain the same most of the years and are not merely limited to Goa. The figures might be similar or more in other states, which are frequented by a large number of tourists."

He said, "The Goa police have been taking all cases seriously and in every unidentified death, which is not a case of murder, a magisterial inquest is done under section 174 of Criminal Procedure Code and efforts are put in to trace their relatives and one of the difficulties in identifying the deceased, is that no identity is found on them. Tagging Goa as an unsafe tourist destination, is nothing but fiction. Goa is as safe as any other state and these numbers do not speak for themselves."

Also read: Casinos play big role in promoting Goa tourism: Sanjay Dutt

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