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GOA, A SOFT STATE FOR CRIME A Series of murders rock Goa; people demand immediate action and accountability: GOA FORWARD CHIEF VIJAI SARDESAI



Goa: A wave of alarming murders has recently shaken the state of Goa, leaving the public shocked and deeply anxious. Just in the last 4 days, 6 murders have been committed in the state. The approach taken by the state government in addressing these crimes, including incidents of sexual assault and harassment against both residents and tourists, will lead to an undesirable culture conducive to further such offences, and contribute to a negative image of Goa. I had previously raised concerns about the rising crime rates in the state, and the recent incidents only reaffirm the urgent need for effective action and accountability from the authorities.

In the past few days, a disturbing sequence of events unfolded, with three cases of murders registered. One such case involved a husband killing his wife, and in another, a wife colluded with her partner to murder her husband, and then, a tragic incident in Fatorda where a labourer was brutally killed. These heinous crimes are deeply unsettling, and they demand immediate government intervention, and adoption of comprehensive measures to prevent their recurrence.

In a separate incident, a man lost his life due to a property dispute with four individuals from Uttar Pradesh. His body was found thrown in a river. Furthermore, a man was found dead with his throat slit in Loutolim, a 23-year-old was brutally murdered in his own home in Rumdamol, and a woman was killed by her disgruntled partner.

I raise a crucial question: What is the overarching response of the police to address this alarming surge in crime? I emphasise that I am referring to the broader strategy, not individual cases. The people of Goa are deeply troubled by these crimes. Today, it’s migrants who are the victims, but tomorrow it could be our fellow Goans.

The Director General of Police (DGP) of Goa is an experienced officer who is actively engaged on social media platforms. However, instead of promptly addressing the concerns and assuring Goans, he posted a tweet today regarding public grievances. While such endeavours are commendable, the need of the hour is a comprehensive response from the DGP outlining the measures he intends to take to curb crimes in the state.

Similarly, the Home Minister’s silence on these crimes is worrying. It is imperative that he makes a public statement detailing his plans to address alarming rise in the crime rate. The Goa police must shift its focus from revenue generation to tackling crimes effectively. The Home Minister should introspect on the following:

  1. Why has the crime rate risen during his tenure?
  2. When was the last crime review meeting held, and what was the outcome?
  3. What specific steps does he intend to take to change the state’s perception regarding crime?

Goa’s crime statistics are alarming, with a conviction rate of just 19.8% as per the National Crime Records Bureau, ranking seventh lowest nationally. To rectify this dire situation, several key measures must be undertaken:

  1. Stricter Surveillance on Migrants: There is an urgent need for heightened vigilance on migrants entering Goa. Greater patrolling and monitoring of neighbourhoods where the migrant labor class resides is necessary to track potential troublemakers and gangs.
  2. Enhanced Beat Policing and Local Intelligence: Regular beat policing and strong local intelligence are indispensable. Community interaction and beat patrols can provide crucial insights into local activities, deterring criminal elements.
  3. CCTV Cameras in Vulnerable Areas: The installation of CCTV cameras at major junctions around vulnerable neighbourhoods can act as a deterrent and provide valuable evidence.
  4. Women Police Stations: I have persistently advocated for a women’s police station in every taluka of the state. Recent incidents highlight the urgent need for such stations to ensure women’s safety and to address their grievances effectively.

One girl was murdered after she reported to the police that her murderer had slapped her. I had demanded a women police station in every taluka in the state. Today, if a women goes to the police to complain against any someone who she feels threatened, the police do not take the case seriously. The police end up judging the girl for having a relationship or friendship with the person.

That person then ends up murdering her. This is what happened in the case of the Porvorim woman. What did the police do when she went to complain that the man assaulted her? They took from the man a written statement that he will stay away from her. They did not do any psychological test on the man, or interrogate him to determine whether he poses a danger to her. He goes no to murder her! Now what will the police do with the written assurance? Can they produce it in court? Will that written assurance bring the women back to life?

The measures that I have outlined are imperative steps in ensuring that crime is checked effectively before it happens.

These measures, if implemented rigorously, can help bring down crime rates and restore a sense of security in our state. The safety of our citizens is of paramount importance; so is the reputation of our state as a safe destination for tourism. Therefore I demand the authorities to act swiftly and decisively to prevent any further loss of life.

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