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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

  • Hello Javits,

    Im glad to see my voice here, im the happy shiny blogger, more importantly im glad to see people discussing the issue here.

    Mossey my friend, do not be influenced by the media in India, there is no Journalism, they media protects the government and has done everything to safegauard the tourism industry. What happend was wrong, if you read the second autopsy report, she dint drown, she had sand stuffed in her mouth till she died…i dont know if drownings better…but it was covered up.

    It was never really brought out by the media here was it? I hate that, i studied journalism, educations a farce, corporations are a farce, what is reality? You really gotta dig deep to know.

    But i am glad that you talk abt it, im glad that nuts over here talks abt the true goa vibe, bikinis…people have been skinny dipping there since the 50’s 60’s so ur culture n stuff is not happening…

    My roots are from goa, i am a goan born and brought up in bombay. Have been visiting goa, well often enough to have sucked up a lot that the state has to offer, there is always more everytime i go.

    But i feel it dying in me the urge to go to goa, over the lastfew years….iv made my shortest trips to goa…this was all bound to happen i feel…anyway

    Cheers guys :)

  • I am appalled at Mossy (moosey?)’s comments, but am afraid they represent opinions that are all too common. (Blame the victim…western women are looking for sex…etc).

  • Moosey

    Well.. seems everybody out here is missing the point..
    I have said that I do not absolve the rapists of their crime, I have said that I do not condone the government of their lapses.. I would always add that its unfortunate that a child of 15 yrs was raped due to the mis-doings of her mother..

    In the first place, Fiona until now hasnt mentioned anything against the barman not her new-found boyfriend with whom she had left her daughter. She insists that there is an involvement of the drug mafia.. how does she know? why has she left her 15 yr daughter on 6 occassions and visited a neighbouring state witht he remaining children? why did the British national that claims to have been the witness, runaway from Goa? he claims that he was there for three hours.. why didnt he call the police? why is it that his deposition does not coroborate the evidence given by others? Fiona was herself involved in the drug trade and it is believed that the drug mafia was out to give Fiona a chilling message. It is believed that Fiona was using her kids to transport drugs to the beaches from the neighbouring state? How else was she supporting 7 children on a holiday in India when she lived in Devon in a caravan?
    There is more to it that meets the eye.. I dont believe that the barman had even raped the girl.. it was probably the member of the drug mafia that did it.. cos the girl was seen by the Briton at the parking lot trying to revive her from her stupor and when he saw someone approach abandoned and fled.. the girl was then found in the shallow waters of the beach.. probably raped and then held under the water with the intenetion to kill.

  • Moosey, I heard the same story from a friend of mine who got back from Goa. It seems Fiona is a cocaine peddler. I do not know if her children were peddling, but what we have here is a full blown failure of the government.

    The murder was covered up not to protect the tourism industry but to protect the drug mafia. There was no liquid found in the girls lungs for it to be a drowning issue.

    In the second autoposy they found sand stuffed in her mouth. Anyway, its pretty crazy, even if Fiona was involved in the drug trained so are the cops and so is the government. Justice for murder has nothing to do with it, what she is doing peddling is against the law, but what is the law? Is there any law? I dont know…

    Cheers,
    Clyde

  • slaine

    hi everybody.
    i stay in goa for up to 8 months of the year, i have a small flat on the back road to mapusa, which i share with my boyfriend and our small boy, we only moved there recently, before that we lived in anjuna, the side nearest to assagao, we have been staying in goa for a few years and my mum started going to india in the early 1980’s and is a divotee in gujarat, we also lived in delhi for several months. i would like to inform you all i do not do drugs and only wear my bakini on the beach, we have many goan friends and try our hardest not to offend the native population, i go to my auntie sunanda’s and help cook ( if she lets me) go to weddings etc, not all foreigners are bad and some genuinely want to live in goa and blend the best we can, although its been made very hard with all the buying and visas stuff. i want to live in goa and send my baboo to school there because education is more valid and respected, it is a nicer, safer, friendlier and healthier environment than uk, especially london where i stay in uk, also your culture loves children which is evident to me, wich is why fiona probably felt it was ok to let scarlett go back from gokarna with julio, also scarlett was ment to stay in soilim wich as im sure you all know is far more conservative than anjuna.i also find some tourist behavior appalling, mainly in calengute and bagga with two week package holiday types as its probably their first time and it could be aiya nappa or ibiza for all they care, i was also raised in a similar way to fionas own children and can assure you all that its not immoral, we also lived in busses and caravans, kept livestock etc, me and my brother were home educated, then when i was a bit older than scarlett i went straight into college to do my exams and went on to further education and left with distinction and merrit in everything, my brother has a good job, also my mum and dad have been married for 25 years successfully. i can assure that its a better life than to live in london in a house only to become involved in crime, gun coulture and gangs as many of the youth here is, just read some english press!
    slaine elvign, 22 years

  • Subhradip

    REPLY to Moosy:

    Hi Mossy ,
    I feel that your argument for the rape and murder of Scarlet is neither too complicated nor so deeply intricate the no one can understand you, the real concern is that the way you seem to justify layers of facts (comparing with peoples behaviour from other parts of the world) surrounding her death seems rather hopeless and more serious , dangerous.
    Lets try to accept one very simple stuff, Indians in general has the least respect for womens (younger) yet practice the most brutal hypocrisies of niceness in the world. Don’t you ever seen how school –college girls are irritated and muled over the roads , over buses? Don’t you observe the eve teasing rampart at every corner of the streets? Don’t you accept that foreigners are harassed and hacked ultimately by street vendors, cab drivers, auto drivers and worst Policeman? (Come one now don’t cite that Look its also happenes in Uganda, it does also happens in Ethiopia.. its also happens there so does it LEGALIZE to happen in INDIA? I mean why we for ages trying to tame the snake under our bed saying that’s its nothing more than a piece of rope.
    You accept it or not, it’s a FACT, India is not a safe place … not for INDIAN ladies at all , leave aside any foreign teenager. Why are there scores of molestation reports on almost every day basis attacking the foreign tourist? What is the government , the police , the so called social workers doing to prevent it? Scarlet’s mother is to blame for leaving the teen daughter alone , Scarlet had already a spoiled moral character, Scarlet is drug and alcohol addicted …. Sorry to say, DOESTNOT mean that INDIANs have then the right to rape and kill her. If that seems the causal explanation, then I beg to say the lets stop all this blog coz it really doesn’t sees the root cause, Indians by general are highly ill-mannered (not to their own relatives or cousins ofcourse !) and absolutely hypocrites, who can talk lectures on women respect , worship women Goddess and still sees womens as an entity of lust and sex ( don’t show the exception of fews, that’s the real world in India).
    The way the Goa police tried to doze the story from Rape to drowning is sufficient to say that there is some thing absolutely serious about the whole administration and law.Our womens can walk more free and more safe surely on the streets of NewYork, Boston , Chicago or California. I seriously doubt how safe they are over the streets of Delhi, Kolkata , Allahabad or Mumbai? Ask yourself ? Can you or me let our ladies leave all alone by even 7 PM night ???They aren’t at all. So lets try to mend the real problem, because till we cant agree to accept that we are really making the worst environment for our ladies , in our own country, Scarlet in some form or other, will be continued to get raped, molestated and killed and will would keep telling the world ( telling lies) that its her morale that punished her, and she would have the same fate even if she were in UK streets ! Else you wont see about 80 peoples hackling two NRI on the NewYear Eve? Whats that then ? Are those two NRI ladies drug addicted too ! The more we try to blame the word for our sins; we realize that our own women’s are losing their battle to sex manic perverted wolfs roaming in absolutely innumerable numbers as gentle mans on Indian streets. Lets fix our problems before blaming others. Its already terribly late…. Worst it would be irreversible soon.

  • Naren

    @Subhradip

    Agree with you 100%. India is not a safe place – for male or for female. Legal system is non-existent in India.

  • Mansha

    India unsafe?? Ok, where have i heard that before? Yes, simply everywhere. But who’s responsible for it? Aren’t we just as guilty in keeping India this way by being mere by-standers in the current situation? I agree the appalling state of various cities in India is the result of the prevalent mindset of the average Indian roadside male. Am myself a middle-class Indian girl, and yes, have seen the bad state of women sometimes, eve-teasing et al. But we also have the public that ensures women are respected. I am still given a seat in the general compartment of a train if I am the only female standing. Men sometimes think twice before talking rudely to me, or any other girl for that matter, which they would have done gladly if there had been a guy in my place. So, why not cultivate that sort of an attitude?

    Can’t the Indian youth make a change?? It is said that youth is the most idealistic age, so why not capitalise on that and make our country a better place for all?? If we stand together, we can oh-so-definitely make a change. Our previous generations ensured we have a stable country to live in, so it now becomes our responsibility to make sure we hand over a safer place to our future generations. It may sound a lot like idealistic bullshit, but this constant whimpering about India being so unsafe, when most of us are ensconced in our cocoons, really irritates me. Wake up fellow Indians!! Be the change you want…

  • Subhradip

    REPLY to Mansha:
    I truly agree that youths in India should bring the change, but trust me , it’s above all the a) Up-bringing from home right from the childhood b)The LAW system, that matters and the two that can do the best. I don’t mean to disappoint you, but somewhere the two systems are miserably faulty or leaky in India. Yes we are taught to be co-cordial to women’s, but then this knowledge somehow remains restricted and reserved only for the immediate relatives and friends, the global feeling is still largely missing.(Else one wont see the highest rate of women harassments in this country; 27 foreigners had died in Goa this year alone! list is endless) And the law, well that’s a fairy tale ! (this country of billions know who murdered JESSICA LALL, still its powerless against a single MLA !! isn’t that an irony?) LAW in India is still the delicious commodity only for the riches and well connected, its barely poor for middle-class like you or me.. and that’s the worst, coz we now know that well, and hence so, we bend, twist and torn the system, so as to survive and thus the cycle goes on and on. Unless some one assures us of a fair game, every bit of corruption will breed happily within our little bit of selfish need, and still hypocrisy will continue.
    I once asked several of my women colleagues/friends /relatives what they think would do when in danger on Indian roads? none of more than 30 replied dialing 100; they say that’s the last priority.Thats the law prevalent here.

    It’s a pleasure to know that there are still some people who offer ladies seats, but ask yourself, those numbers are vanishingly small, so that stands as a mere exception, and that doesn’t project INDIA anyway.
    I just like to comment that our previous generations really weren’t too successful in making stable as you wrote, in fact they deserve more of a blame than praise. Dowry, ignorance towards female educations, restriction of females only to household activities, terrible sharp demarcation between males and females(that’s the dangerous most) and what not… are needless to say our previous generation humble gift, that we are reaping the fruits now and so, you are right again, the present day youths have to make the change as of now. But the real dogma is “ who would bell the cat” and from where should it begin?

  • What is pertinent is that poor Scarlett’s death also revealed the shoddy state of politics in our beloved Goa. The autopsy, the missing organs, the blame game … Oh My God, do these politicians think that the Goan public is full of fools. Goans, sensitive lovely Goans, rise. We need to do some soul searching and drive out all this sleaze from our beloved land.

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