Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 27: Sex, drugs and video tapes. This is what one can briefly say while speaking of illegal home stays mushrooming in various states and Kerala in particular.
The recent gang rape of a woman in Fort Kochi should act as an eye opener to the authorities as investigations have found shocking details.
Investigations that were conducted into this incident has found that the girl an ex-girlfriend of the accused, Althaf was forcibly taken to this home stay in Fort Kochi and gang raped. Further it was also learnt that the accused persons who allegedly raped her in an illegal home stay had threatened her not to complain failing which they would put upload a video of the rape.
While this is one part of the investigation, the other is regarding the rising number of illegal home stays that have been coming up in Kerala.
There are no checks and Fort Kochi alone is reported to have 80 illegal home stays. The police have also found that people have been taking up houses in rent and then running home stays illegally.
Sex, drugs and video tapes
Investigations have found that there are several illegal activities that are taking place in these illegal home stays. The rate at which the home stays are coming up, the police find it very difficult to keep a track on each one of them.
The police say that they cannot initiate action against illegal home stays as licensing is the job of the tourism department.
The tourism department on the other hand has found it tough to keep a tab on illegal home stays. An officer with the department tells OneIndia that they do conduct frequent checks, but it would help them a great deal if people report such home stays so that action can be initiated. Moreover those who visit home stays must make sure that it is licensed.
In most cases, the police have found that people take up houses on rent and run home stays. The owner of the house is not aware of the same in most cases. In such home stays it has been found that drugs are being supplied. In the recent Fort Kochi case, it was found that the accused persons used to shoot videos of couples who would visit.
After shooting a video, the accused persons would blackmail the couples. The couples on the other hand would not complain as they were afraid of being blackmailed and moreover they have hidden the fact of their visit from their parents.
Dinesh M P the police commissioner of Kochi says that there is no need to fear and couples must complain as in such cases the names are kept under wraps.
Clean up exercise
The Kerala tourism department will now launch a state wide operation to check the growth of illegal home stays.
The director of the Kerala Home Stay and Tourism society, Sivadattan M says that people should be cautious before visiting home stays. A full list of authorised home stays is provided on www.keralatourism.org.
In addition to this the tourism department will also seek the assistance of the police to crack down on such illegal home stays. There would also be surprise visits at all home stays.
Moreover the department has also urged those giving their houses on rent to keep a regular check on the activities that go on. House owners must report immediately any suspicious activity, the department has also urged.