Goans say police, tourists to blame for British teen’s deathMarch 11th, 2008 - 7:57 pm ICT by admin
Panaji, March 11 (IANS) While authorities in Goa indulge in the blame game over the death of British teen Scarlette Eden Keeling and the botched investigations, an internet opinion poll on the issue has most people blaming “corruption” among the police and “tourist misbehaviour” as the reasons behind her suspected murder. The Feb 18 death of 15-year-old Keeling has caused a flurry of shock and indignation both here and among expatriate Goan communities worldwide.
In an Internet opinion poll, of the first 80 voters, around 18 percent blamed corruption among the police and “others”, while 20 percent cited “tourist misbehaviour and parental irresponsibility” as responsible for the shocking death.
Another 9 percent blamed Goan tourism, which has been accused of projecting the wrong image of the place and attracting visitors using questionable baits, while 7 percent called it a “cover up by the cops”.
A smaller percentage cited Goan government inefficiency, overall Goan culpability and the lethargy of the local media. Nearly 40 percent said all these factors played a role.
Goa’s Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco pointed a finger to the failure of the state machinery in investigating the death of Keeling at the hippy haunt of Anjuna village.
The death had become big news in the international media a week after it happened. The local police have been blamed for keeping quiet about it for nearly five days.
The police had initially sought to pass it off as an accidental drowning. But the teenager’s mother, Fiona Mackeown, returned from an out-of-state holiday to insist on further investigations, which led to the arrest of a local, Samson D’Souza (29) on grounds of rape. D’Souza is himself married to a French woman.
Under intense international media pressure, the police have conducted a second post-mortem examination.
Meanwhile, 43-year-old Mackeown has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the case. Her lawyer told the media here that they lacked faith in the Goa police.
The case has also cast a dark shadow over Goa’s tourism sector, which sees a number of mostly low-spending tourists come in via British charter flights each peak season between November and March.
In another development, Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik told the local The Navhind Times that the police would work to ensure the truth is “dug out”.
The police would be probing the case from all angles, including the role of drug-peddlers, if any, and anti-social elements, the minister was quoted as saying.