Australian tourist racially abused waiters: Goa pub

October 11th, 2008 - 8:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Oct 11 (IANS) Australian tourist John Kelly, who died after a pub brawl here Wednesday morning, had hulred racial abuses at Indian customers and waiters that might have provoked the scuffle, the bar management said in a statement Saturday.The statement issued by Club City, the 24×7 bar and restaurant located at Goa’s busiest coastal tourism hotspot Calangute, said Kelly, 65, was already drunk when he reached the place.

“He was loud, abusive, racially discriminating in his speech which was aimed at everyone in his vision which seemed like signs of a totally intoxicated person with not much bearing of his surroundings,” says the statement, endorsed by the owner of the establishment, Rajesh Khanna.

Khanna told IANS the statement had been signed by two dozen eyewitnesses who were present when the incident happened.

According to the statement, Kelly on his arrival ordered a round of beer for a group of Indian tourists present but they declined his offer and he was enraged.

“He (Kelly) abused him left right and centre and the one-sided conversation can be best described as outright provocation in the form of direct and indirect verbal abuse, racial discrimination and insult,” the statement said, adding that at the end of this outburst, Kelly pressed a knife into a waiter’s neck.

“Kelly responded by holding the waiter by his head and putting the knife to his throat and slowly exerting pressure,” it added.

But the moment an opportunity came their way, the bar manager and a security guard stepped in to help their colleague and a slugfest ensued, the management said.

“They managed to pry the knife out of his hand… It seems that he tripped over one of the seats made of marble and landed near two other marble seats and a speaker in a tight corner where his ribs probably came in the direct path of the fall.

“As he was completely intoxicated and did not have control over (himself). His reflexes probably did not allow him to break the fall, which meant that the direct impact would have come on to his ribs while landing,” the statement said.

It said Kelly then returned with police to the scene of the offence, which completely contradicts the statement issued by police, who said they did not lay their eyes on Kelly until they were informed by the hospital where he was admitted and later died.

Kelly’s death at the outset of Goa’s tourism season has been seen as a downer by the tourism industry which is already expecting a fall in the number of tourists visiting the state this year due to global recession.

Goa’s image as a safe tourism destination was marred after the controversial death of British teenager Scarlett Keeling, who was found dead at the Anjuna beach in February.

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