Tourists in Goa suffer like Indians in Australia: Russian diplomat

June 3rd, 2009 - 10:17 am ICT by IANS  

Panaji, June 3 (IANS) Russian Consul General Alexander Mantytsky has drawn a parallel between the attacks on Russian tourists in Goa and the racial attacks on students of Indian origin in Australia.
Mantytsky told reporters here Tuesday that it was his duty to protect the rights of Russian citizens in India just as Indian diplomats were doing their bit for their nationals in Australia.

“It is my job to defend the rights of Russian citizens in Goa,” the diplomat said in the face of rising number of crimes against foreigners, especially Russians, in this popular tourist destination.

Mantytsky said that the police machinery in Goa was inefficient, pointing out to the woefully slow and inadequate investigations in cases involving Russian citizens.

He also accused the police of stonewalling periodical updates sought by the Russian authorities in eight cases involving Russians, who have either died in Goa or have been victims of a crime.

“A number of requests to give detailed information on the cases and expedite the investigations remained unanswered by the concerned authorities,” Mantytsky said, adding that this was despite sharing of sensitive information including names of suspects from the consulate’s end.

He also complained that the police response to queries in cases that were finalised was merely perfunctory and frivolous.

“We found the answers in the mentioned letters quite formal as they do not contain any concrete information about the course of the investigation,” the diplomat said.

Mantytsky has already met the state’s chief secretary and the inspector general of police in connection with the death of 19-year-old teenager Elena Sukhonova, whose multilated body was found on railway tracks near here May 8. The diplomat is also likely to meet Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Wednesday.

Mantytsky hoped that the inability of the Goa Police to thoroughly investigate the crimes against Russian citizens did not spark the same kind of reaction back home as is being seen in India after the slew of racial attacks on Indian students in Australia.

“There are reports that Indian students do not want to go to Australia for higher studies. As a consul general in Mumbai I want more and more Russians to come to Goa. But we want these cases to be handled thoroughly,” Mantytsky said.

The consul general said that despite the global economic downturn, Russians had continued to favour Goa, pointing out to a marginal increase in the number of Russian tourists visiting the state.

“This season there were 44,000 Russians coming here as compared to the 41,000 last season, while the number of British citizens coming to Goa has slipped considerably,” Mantytsky said.

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