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India: Losing Goa and the Scarlett Keeling homicide case

My heart cries out that Goa the land of Sex, Drugs, Music, the once land of the hippies and lost Gods, had to be brought under the crime radar as a threat. Although I am partial in judging Goa, the land I spent my childhood and almost every other summer, it was not until the Scarlett murder, the conspiracy within and that odd feeling of lost sense of security in a familiar land, not only for foreigners but for the ‘other’ Indians alike has awakened the reality in this matter, losing ‘this once paradise’.

Colrama blogs about why It is time to wake upat Citizens Alliance, giving sketches about the Scarlett murder.

The latest incident of Scarlett Keeling, a British teenager whose body was found on the beach in Goa has been added to the list of tragic incidents that have marred the tourist circuit in India. The sad fact is that the Goa police who claim “Improving police – community relations is another thrust area…..This can happen only if we are able to perform not only on the law & order and crime front, but also in our public dealings by our helpful and sympathetic behavior towards people who come to us in their moment of distress. ……..Cases where women, children and the elderly are victims of crime should always receive our prompt attention” did not respond appropriately in the Scarlett Keeling case.
The actions of the local police to brush under the carpet what was obviously a homicide have not helped. Insistence by the mother of the victim who claimed her daughter was raped and murdered and demanded a second autopsy was casually brushed aside by the local police.

Colrama goes on to add why Goa seems to be losing its lustre and is no more a pristine tourist paradise it once was. In a recent post he has quotes from the Goan Chief Minister, Kamat, blaming Scarlett’s mother for the murder and thus trying to evade responsibility.

Kamat held Scarlett’s mother, Fiona equally responsible for her daughter’s death. “How can a mother, let her minor daughter go out so late in the night?” said Kamat.
“Tourists should take care of themselves.” he added.

Laz has taken this situation to another level; she is questioning God.

My co-worker’s revelation was met with the sadness and bile that gorge up upon hearing of tragedies like these. One of our numbers astutely pointed out that there are “sick people everywhere” and not so astutely proclaimed that this is further proof that God does not exist.
Yes, he knows that God does not exist because if there was a God he would have stopped this injustice.
What I do know is that the irrationality that such inanities betray is as much an indicator of fallen humanity’s depravity as the things that were done to this girl.

‘The Ying has settled on Goa’s Yang’ say the Happy Shiny Bloggers,

Goa, the Hippie Mecca in the late 1960's and early 1970's, gave rise to a musical culture that embedded with the spiritual culture of India to give us Goa trance.
…But if this is what you know Goa for, she houses dancers no more; Goa has been case of a 15-year old Scarlett Keeling. For those who do not know, Scarlett's body was washed upon the shore of Anjuna Beach, the place which is coincidentally the epicenter of the peace and love culture, and its night-long parties.

The Happy Shiny Bloggers are questioning why Goa has become the hide-out for the Russian Mafia. They go on to question the happy state of the locals.

Where is Goa now? With the Russian mafia using it as their hideout to launder billions of dollars, do arms deals, run prostitution rackets, real estate deals and things we may not possibly incur in our day-to-day life. Pedophiles seem to be everywhere with poor families from neighboring states selling their children to tourists, ominous signs in hotel lobbies warn clients not to take children up to their rooms…
..are the Goans happy with the last draft regional plan announced more than a year ago proposing to open 80% of agricultural and forest land for commercial exploitation. Apparently not, the current scenarios have given birth to websites like Save Goa. Fueling the Goans fury is that the police and politicians that are frequently accused of abetting crime and receiving money.
Oh wake up Goa, wake up, from being the creator of spirituality for lost souls around the world, to become the taker of souls, who would have seen. With corruption and greed fueling your streets and murdered bodies lying on your beach.

A Russian drug-dealer, Anjuna Atala explains the corruption in the Goan police system, in this YouTube clip.

Meldreth from the United Kingdom, is asking the question out loud, is the world safe? In his blog post “Asking for Trouble”.

In the UK, common sense and logic has it that you just don't accept a ride in a private vehicle from a stranger. At times, this may seem like an over the top piece of parental advice, but is usually regarded as a sound tactic. Overseas, however, we lose this common sense for some reason.
Case in point: Scarlet Keeling, a Devon teenager living in India with her family, accepted a lift home from a stranger and wound up dead on a beach. Goa, India, where Keeling lived with her mother and siblings, is no London or Liverpool, but as a city of 1.5 million, similar precautions should be taken there as you might expect in the UK. However, as I can attest to, exotic countries can nullify one's sense of judgment. For example, when I was living in Nanjing, China, I thought nothing of flagging down a black cab. Well not nothing. I thought they were a cheaper alternative to licensed taxis. Granted I am a 16 year old male and Keeling was a 15 year old female, but the start of the sequence was the same. Whilst I usually traveled with several of my equally male friends, none of us were experts on the local road map and so could easily have been led into uncomfortable situations. Nothing untoward ever happened, but looking back, I was probably a bit foolish.

Ujj from Munity.in and Freedbird have more, here and here.

24 comments

  • Just to let you know Javits, I wasn’t so much trying to say the world is unsafe, more that common sense should not be dependent on location, that people should keep their wits about them, where-ever they are. The funny thing is, I had no idea of Goa’s hippy culture, the naive teenager that I am, so thanks for that extra nugget of knowledge!

  • Moosy

    I am from Goa and would like to share a few thoughts..

    What has happened to Scarlet Keeling was unfortunate but this incident should be an eye-opener to the many tourists from all over the world.. This could happen anywhere.. dont tell me that women are not raped in other parts of the world..

    It appears that Scarlet was born to a family of gypsies, where school education is not important. Children are brought up by parents who are themselves drug-addicts, alchoholics, etc.. and therefore, like Scarlet has been brought up by parents that have no moral upbringing themselves.

    I have been in the travel Industry now for aver 20 years, and had been handling charters especially from the UK. During ny stint, I notice that some of the British that visit India do not know to respect people and their culture. Many of them walk around the streets of Goa in Bikinis and the men bare bodied.. I often wonder if these very same people would be allowed to walk the streets of London bare-bodied or in bikinis… Who then gave them the right to assume that their behaviour is acceptable here in Goa?

    Scarlet, as we all know, was ONLY 15 years old.. a minor for God’s sake.. who we are told was permitted to live with her boyfriend (boyfriend?? at the age of 15 yrs??) If I had a daughter who was a minor, Id ensure she was under my protection 24 x 7.. and if she insisted in having a boyfriend, leave alone living with him, Id have belted the daylights out of her.. as long as she is under my roof, and eating out of my palms, she follows my rules… BUT in the case of Scarlet.. her mother had no control whatsoever.. who thought that she could leave her young daughter in a den of wolves.. and oh yeah.. she thought her daughter was safe.. cos she was sure her daughter was a good girl.. I think Fiona doesnt have an inkling of what it takes to be good.. if screwing around at the age of 15 years is being good.. then I am sure Fiona’s morals need to be questioned..

    Scarlet was drunk and drugged before she came to that Lui’s restaurant.. totally vulnerable.. and at an unearthly time of 3.30am.. I ask you people.. in which country would such a woman be spared? She was already asking for trouble.. dont tell me that she would have been spared in the streets of UK by the British men..

    So then who is to blame for Scarlet’s death? Here is a young girl of 15 years, sort of abandoned by her mother, and was left to be screwed by her so called boyfriend.. while her mother was probably having fun on some other beach.. And then this GOOD girl, is drinking and taking drugs till the wee hours of the morning.. get herself so spaced out of her mind.. and goes to a Bar… making it obvious that she is all alone.. unable to get home.. Ofcourse she was inviting someone to rape her..

    There are women drom the UK that come here to Goa leaving their husbands in UK.. and they are here in Goa, to entice the young men here by lavishing them with money for sexual gratifcation… They end up with those beach bums that are eveready to provide that sexual gratification in exchange for gifts and money.

    So when these British women are so wantonly looking out for sex.. its only natural that opportunities that have been provided by girls like scarlet are taken by those wolves that wait for their prey to fall on their laps without making an effort.

    Dont blame the people here for the unfortunate incident.. blame Scarlet and her mother.. and blame the trash that come to Goa to extinguish their flames of LUST

  • @ Johan

    Yes, the safety of our surroundings depends on our ‘common sense where-ever we are’ like you simply put it. Glad you got to know a tad bit more about Goa.

  • @ Mossy

    Before I start with a reply, you should know that although I live oceans apart from Goa, Goa still is a major part of me and my family who’ve lived there for over 5 decades.
    No one is blaming the people of Goa. But since you beg this question, what have the people of Goa done to prevent any of these? All we do is drink our Cashew Finny and let Russians rule our backyard. We’ve made our lands prostitutes to foreign drug-dealers, let alone our non-responsive attitude to a messy political stage. We have sold our children to sex mongers, we’ve opened nudist with open arms even before your’20 years’ of travel industry experience began. We’ve survived as a community on this foreign experience for a longer time than our blames can extend.
    It’s not the character of Scarlett or her mother; it’s not their foreign culture that saddens my heart, but the rotten perspectives we’ve fallen into, this hostile, non-host like attitude towards any situation. Why do we let ourselves be enticed? Why do we let them even ignite a flame in our beaches in the first place? We have let them do this, we have opened this door, we have provided them with drugs, and everything else they need, and now at the wake of an international event, how can one sit back and say it has nothing to do with us?
    We are if not equally, more to be blamed. All we do is criticize and shout at the world for talking about issues like these, rather than take a step towards realizing what we can possibly do to change our Goa into better place to live in.

  • aks

    i agree javit to yr comments to mossy. yes, fiona shaould have acted more intelligent and all that stuff; but why are drugs landing up on our beaches? One friend, when i spoke to him of this, said… “we know nothing of this… it is not related to locals; it is about foriegners…”. Not related to this? the drug supplier and the rapists were our own goan men. Because drugs are available here, we get people who are hooked to these. we need to clean up and majorly.

  • Mansha

    Ok, I have never been to Goa, though of course, have heard lots of it. In my college, its a tradition to go to Goa with your friends in your final year, to booze or whatever… (I stay in Gujarat, so the boozing is quite enticing for most) Anyway, despite being a teetotaler, I am still all excited for my trip next year. Goa’s supposed to be paradise for all looking for pure unadulterated fun… Dil Chahta Hai kind of reinforced this beilief… But now, after the keeling case, one is sure to take notice of the ugly underbelly of the place.. I dunno if I’m even gng to get permission for my “trip” now!!

    Talking of the case in particular, though not being in the know of all facts, it seems the blame game will go on for quite some time now.. The goans’ pride seems to have been hurt by all the accusations flying about.. The police, whatever anyone says, deserves the brickbats… Can’t comment on Scarlett’s family, its their personal matter. But I would like to say something on the topic of girls being alone. Its widely accepted that girls are supposed to take precautions in whatever we do. But then, the rebel says, why only us?? Then the voice of reason chides, be practical. So what is a girl supposed to do?? Never have the independence to do as she pleases?? I am not saying what Scarlett’s supposed to have done was wise; no, it was truly stupid, but it does bring to light the fact that whenever something untoward happens to a girl, she is the one to be blamed. Can that mentality be changed?? Just answer one question of mine, something that’s been bothering me for long. WHY ARE GUYS USUALLY SO PEVERTED????

  • Moosey

    Please dont get me wrong guys.. I do not absolve the rapists of their crime.. neither to a condone the lapses of the police or the Government.. I also do agree with you that the drug mafia does exist.. and that dome of the Goans have actually sold the land to to the so called drug mobs.. What I had tried to convey was that the foreign tourists do not respect our cultures.. they walk the streets (mind you, I have not said beaches… but the streets of town) barebodied.. or in skimpy bikinis.. I wonder if they would walk the streets in UK dressed the way they do here in Goa.. or if they would permit us Indians to walk their streets in the UK in similar attire… I also wonder if Scarlet had to walk the streets of London at 3am totally drunk & drugged and then make it known that she was alone, I wonder if the British men would keep their hands off her.. I mind you.. the Goan men are not the only men in the world
    get enticed when an opportunity comes their way..

    And coming to Mansha’s query.. women are not always blamed when untoward incidences happen.. Its when they behave stupidly in a manner that attracts uneccessary attention viz wearing provocative clothing, or behave in an inappropriate manner.. thats the time they need ot be blamed.. because they have not acted responsibly.

  • Gon

    @Moosey

    I am frankly appalled at your comments. I too come from a conservative Chinese culture where we disapprove of women strolling around town in bikinis. Despite that, we do not see skimpy dressing, or lustful behaviour as invitation to or justification for rape.

    Judging by your comments and your eagerness to cast blame on the victim, you apparently do.

    This is not an issue about respect for foreign cultures. Fair enough, I accept that their behaviour and dressing is inappropriate in a Goan’s eyes. It does not however excuse what was done to that poor girl, nor of the Goan police’s sad attempts to cover up the mess by lying through their teeth.

    I sincerely hope your beliefs are not representative of the average Goan male.

  • Joy

    My deepest sympathy to Fiona. This definitely sounds antagonistic! Instead of bringing out the nexus between the police, drug mafia, and politicians, we are making this issue into a my-mom-is-better-than-yours debate. Fiona, regardless of her lifestyle is a brave mother who is fighting it out with the lowlives of Indian society – the police and the politicians. Drugs should not be there in the first place – that’s the police’s job in which they failed miserably. Corrupt and scheming politicians – we the people of this country elect them. So, in a way you and I are both responsible for Scarlet Keeling’s sad demise and NOT her mother, Fiona.

  • @ Gon
    Sorry to tell you this – but Mossey’s views are pretty much what most Indians think.

    Goans are relatively better off compared to the rest of India – which is what made Goa such a tourist paradise. But not different by much.

    Mossey is not supporting the rape or murder. That is clear. But the same arguments are used by rapists across India to justify what they did. This is a blog, things are read by people. So everyone is careful in what they say.

    But in their own private gatherings, most Indians (and Goans) would use the same arguments. They would say, see what she was doing, see what she was wearing, see how wasted she was – is it any surprise that she was raped. In a crowd which they consider safe, they would even plead for lower punishments for the guilty as they were tempted – and when tempted, what do men so!

    You would also notice something else that is interesting. Mossey has been in the travel industry for 20 years. And then he is saying this. So basically people like him are fine and dandy with eating the fruits of what they do, but refuse to take the blame.

    So it is always SOME goans who sell their land to the mafia, not the decent ones. There are SOME who sell drugs. There are SOME who sell their children. There are SOME who rape.

    But those SOME and the nice guys like Mossey use the same reasoning.

    let me explain something to those who talk about the culture of Goa.

    Goa is bikinis. Goa is nudity. Goa is drugs. Goa is freaking out. Goa is celebrating.

    Goa is NOT konkani language or culture.

    Oh get all upset. But thing is, the tourist GOA — whose benefits you all reap, whose dirty money you all eat – is what you have asked for.

    The Goa you want – all that tourist money and local culture – is a pipedream. Never gonna happen. Goa may die, but your Konkani cultural sweet Goa is not ever going to come back.

    That is the price you pay to have a so-called tourist paradise. If you dont want it, stop selling Goa tourism. Eat coconuts, fish and live happily ever after.

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