Foreign Tourists : Lack of Security

    CAPRG has been harping on the need for proper arrangements at airports, railway stations, and bus stands.

     There is aneed for regulating taxi and auto rickshaws in all cities. Drivers of taxis and autos must not be given licenses unless they are fuly trained. Drivers must have their police verification done and obtain security clearances where required.

 Companies and owners must get police clearance for all their drivers. Traffic police must ensure proper running of prepaid booths. 

     RISING INCIDENTS of crimes against foreign tourists has pushed the Tourism Ministry to send a communication to all states asking them to speed up the process of creating a special tourist police force.

     The urgency was highlighted by an incident in Mumbai earlier this week where a Latvian national was raped by a driver who offered her a lift. The ministry had reminded the states to speed up the matter in June at the chief secretaries meet Today, only 10 states have implemented the measure the communication had first been sent last year – while the rest continue to drag their feet.

But even in those states that have deployed special tourist police, it is open to question whether this is merely a token measure or a genuine effort. Incidents have been reported from at least four of the 10 states Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. In September, two Japanese women were allegedly gangraped in Agra. In June, a South Korean tourist claimed she had been raped near Manali and in Alwar, Rajasthan, a German tourist said she had been raped by Biti Mohanty, the son of a top police official from Orissa.

These incidents dent India’s image as a safe tourist destination – despite the Incredible India campaign abroad – and several prominent countries, including the US and the UK, have issued warnings in official travel advisories to their citizens who are bound for India. Other states where the step has been implemented are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala.

In Goa, a big attraction for foreign travellers, several cases of rape, molestation and other crimes against tourists have been reported. Officials at the ministry pleaded inability to intervene directly, pointing out that law and order being a state subject, they could only urge the states to take adequate steps to protect the tourists. “Whenever such incidents occur, we get a report on them from our regional tourist offices. There is also a complaints cell in our ministry where grievances of tourists are recorded and followed up for action.

Besides, in our media campaigns we try to create awareness among those engaged in the tourism and travel trade as well as general public on the issue,” said a senior official. The issue had also drawn the attention of a parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, headed by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury A report tabled last month said: “The committee notes with concern that incidents of cheating, fleecing criminal acts and harassment of foreign tourists bring a bad name to the country and have an adverse impact on the foreign tourist arrival.

The committee feels that the issue related with safety and security is vital in creating goodwill and the Union Ministry of Tourism cannot wash its hands off stating that policing is a state subject.

” hbartwal@}

Travel advisories of UK, US, Australia and Canada warn their nationals about crime situation in specific destinations in India

 4.40 crore Foreign tourists have arrived in India till November this year 90 crore Foreign tourists arrived in India in 2006 $U5, (s) ? V 2 of street crime, take personal security measures including: are to safeguard your passport and credit/ATM cards, particularly when trayeling by bus and train. There has been an increase in handba snatching in Delhi use aware of what you are eating and drinking. There have been reports of trayellers being drugged and robbed on trains e wary of confidence tricksters, particularly in Agra and Jaipur.

They promise a substantial cash reward for delivery of jewellery abroad but only in return for an initial deposit. The jewellery is invariably worthless and the deposit, often amounting to thousands of pounds, is lost void walking alone in iso- Iated spots after dark.

There have been incidents of sexual offences against women in Delhi and Goa. 0 heft of US Dass- ports is common, particularly in major tourist areas, on overnight trains and at air orts Mt)S citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India. Western women continue to report incidents of physical harassment ecause US citizens’ purchasing power is comparatively large, travelers should also exercise modesty and caution in their financial dealings in India to reduce the chance of being a target for robbery or any other enme

AUSTRALIA :Petty theft is com mon in crowded areas such as markets, airports and bus and railway stations ravellers have been robbed and assaulted after consuming ‘spiked’ drinks here have been incidents of robbery or assault on passengers in taxis traveling to and from Mumbai and Delhi airports in the early hours. Always use prepaid taxi services and avoid boarding taxis already carrying passengers

CANADA Violent crime against foreigners is uncommon but occurs. Petty crime like pickpocketing and bag snatching is common. Pay attention to security of personal belongings and passports

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