Tourism Task Force to check crime on tourists under consideration

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New Delhi, Mar 11 (UNI) The Government is considering to set up a Task Force in addition to Tourism Police across the country to check crime against tourists, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Tourism Minister Ambika Soni, in a reply during Question Hour, said the Ministry on January 24 held a high-level meeting with officials of the Home and Defence Ministries to discuss the blue print of the Task Force which would comprise of retired defence personnel.

''The blue print has been cleared by the Ministries of Defence and home and sent to State governments for approval...,'' she said.

During the meeting the feasibility of deploying ex-servicemen as tourist wardens in states and union territories was also discussed.

The Minister said about ten states had agreed to constitute Tourism Police as per their requirement to tackle crime against tourists.

The announcement assumes significance in view of the recent case of British teenager Scarlette Keeling's death in mysterious circumstances in Goa beach on February 18.

Ms Soni, however, did not give any committment for CBI inquiry into the case as demanded by the victim's mother and raised by Left member Brinda Karat in the House. However, she admitted that some incident of crime against women tourists pointed to a security lapse.

''Law and Order is a state subject and the Tourism Ministry has to work within its limits,'' she added.

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