Goa safe for foreigners, but will not tolerate crimes: CM

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Panaji, Mar 31 (UNI) Chief Minister Digambar Kamat has reiterated that Goa is a ''safe destination'' for tourists, including foreigners, but government would not hesitate to deal with all criminal activities with an iron hand.

Mr Kamat said this when Consul General of Russia Alexander V Mantysky called on him at his Altinho official residence to appraise the CM of ''insecurity'' being faced by the Russians in Goa.

The CM told the envoy that the local people were agitated against certain criminal activities involving some foreigners, including drug smuggling and grabbing of land, but the law would take its due course in all these cases.

He assured the envoy that he would call for a status report on the two cases related to robbery and assault on Russian women.

Earlier, the Russian envoy had sent letters to the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and the IGP, expressing concerns over threat to security and safety of Russians in Goa.

He also had a one to one interaction with the latter last week besides Tourism Minister.

The authorities brought to the notice of the envoy instances of illegal purchase of land by foreigners from the locals, their involvement in criminal activities especially drug trade and overstaying in Goa, violating visa norms.

However, Russians expressed concern why the authorities were focusing their attention more on Russians than on other foreign nationals.

According to Russian's legal advisor, about 27 cases of land purchase involving Russians had come to notice as against a total of 430 cases detected by the government.

''One should deal with all the cases with impartial attitude whereas the authorities were deporting more Russians without touching others,'' he alleged.

IGP Kishan Kumar said he had directed the foreign wing of the police to scrutinise all the cases without any bias and initiate action accordingly.

UNI BM RN GT DB2005

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