Crime, unruly locals spoil party for Russian tourists in Goa

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Panaji, Nov 2: The tourist season for Russians in Goa, who lead the pack of foreign tourists flocking India's beach capital every year, has opened on an unpleasant note this year following a spate of upsetting incidents prompting the Russian authorities to issue an advisory for their nationals.

Russian tourists, who form the highest number of foreigners arriving in the coastal state, have been at the receiving end from the start of this tourism season--started in September--with incidents ranging from assault, theft and molestation involving them, thus spoiling the party at the outset.

While a group of Russian tourists was mercilessly attacked in Pernem taluka, another group has complained to police that management of a hotel where they had put up has refused to help them when their belongings were stolen by unknown persons from their rooms.

Police officials have confirmed that a group of Russians objecting to the local fishermen for mistreating a dog was indeed attacked.

The incident occurred a week after a Russian woman was allegedly molested on Baga beach last month by an unknown person, who still remains untraced, and later by a government doctor during "medical examination".

In a tragic incident, three Russian women who were part of a group holidaying in Goa, drowned after their watercraft, operated illegally by a local, capsized off Betul beach last month.

The incidents have left the Russians aghast and also do not augur well for Goa's image. Alarmed by a string of incidents involving their nationals, the Russian authorities have issued an advisory asking their nationals not to argue with locals in Goa.

The Russian Information Centre (RIC) in Goa has issued a memo to media houses back in Moscow to create awareness among its nationals.

"This advisory is important because many a times Russians have difficulty in communicating in English," RIC media coordinator Anton Platonov said. When contacted, Tourism Director Amey Abhyankar's office refused to comment. 

Platonov said that similarly in a case related to theft in the hotel, the management could not communicate with the Russians because they were not knowing proper English.

Russian Consulate representative in Goa, Vikram Varma said the communication gap between locals and Russians compounds a problem.

"Investigation of crime also suffers as constabulary do not understand Russian," he said.

Varma's office has been providing interpreters to victims of crime and alleged molestation of the Russian woman is a case in point. As per government record, more than 1.5 lakh Russians arrived in Goa last year surpassing the number of British visitors.

PTI

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