Goa has received a lot of negative publicity due to the spate of crimes against foreign tourists in the last decade. These crimes have definitely tarnished the image of Goa, for the foreseeable future. One question on a lot of people’s minds is – Is Goa still safe for lone foreign tourists travelling to the State?
Seemingly tired of the injustice meted out to them, a group of 10 foreigners related to victims of violence in Goa, have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking justice. This begs to ask another question – Have tourist lost faith in Goa’s Justice System and Police?
In the letter to the Prime Minster, the 10 individuals have identified themselves as kin of tourists “murdered in Goa since 2005” and accused the police of cover-ups.
“Police are resistant to solving these cases and those who are responsible for murder remain at liberty to reoffend…” the families have written.
“We fervently request a commission led by Supreme Court Judge to analyze the investigations of the deaths of Caitanya Holt, Felix Dahl, James Durkin, Kyle Arndt, Scarlett Keeling, Denyse Sweeney, Stephen Bennett, Martin Neighbour, Michael Harvey and Jonathan Burbank to ensure a proper, unbiased and comprehensive investigation to reveal the truth about their deaths.
“The quality of the work of the police in Goa should be investigated. Instead of investigating the murders and killings, the local police want to cover up the truth,” states the letter.
According to an RTI reply accessed by a local activist in support of relatives of several of the deceased, 245 foreigners have died in Goa in the last 12 years.
Minna Pirhonen, mother of Felix Dahl who died in Goa in 2015 and is also a part of the team that drafted the letter to the PM, said, “We have sent the letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask for an investigation about the way police in Goa has handled the investigation of these deaths. Many cases have not been investigated at all, in others the investigation was done to show that nothing suspicious was found even in the case when the death itself was suspicious.”
Read more HERE
Who are the ten people who have written to the Prime Minister?
Parvati Dasi, mother of Caitanya Holt
Caitanya Holt was mistakenly identified as a thief and chased by an angry mob into the rice paddy field, where he ultimately fell and choked to death on the swampy water. Read more HERE
Minna Pirhonen, mother of Felix Dahl
Swedish national Felix Dahl who had come to Goa for a holiday in October 2014, is said to have been last seen at a restaurant in Patnem before his body was found on a quiet gravel road, 200m away from the restaurant. Read more HERE
Jim Durkin, father of James Durkin
Mystery surrounds the death of a Coulsdon backpacker who disappeared in Goa after flying to India to scatter his mother’s ashes. The badly decomposed body of James Durkin, 34, washed up on a beach in the city of Canacona on March 8, 2015, three weeks after he vanished. Read more HERE
Lori Arndt, mother of Kyle Arndt
A 25-year-old Canadian national was found dead in a guest house in Arambol police had said. According to Pernem police one male person namely Kyle Kristian Anndt, was found dead in a room of a guest house in Arambol-Pernem. The incident came to light after the staffer at the guest house noticed Anndt. Read more HERE
Fiona MacKeown, mother of Scarlett Keeling
One of Goa’s most murky cases ensued after Scarlett’s half-naked body was found covered in 50 injuries on Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008. Since then the story that has unfolded has left everyone bemused, yet confused. Read more HERE
Maureen Sweeney, sister of Denyse Sweeney
In the early hours of 16 April 2010, a British woman was discovered “in a distressed state” outside a bar in Goa. A short time later, she was declared dead in hospital. Her family believe Denyse Sweeney was murdered. Six years later, her death is being re-examined in India, after the first investigation was found to be flawed. But will the truth ever be revealed? Read more HERE
Amanda Bennett, sister of Stephen Bennett
Stephen Bennett, 40, began his holiday on Goa’s golden beaches but ended it far from the tourist trail, in paddy fields and dense forests some 250 miles away. The part-time actor had been clubbed to death before being strung up with a sari, apparently to disguise the murder as suicide. Read more HERE
Sara Neighbour, sister of Martin Neighbour
Martin Neighbour, 39, whose half naked and bruised body was washed up at the Arambol tourist resort in India on 3 February 2008. Goan authorities said he had drowned after drunkenly falling into the sea. Read more HERE
Pauline Harvey, mother of Michael Harvey
Michael Harvey, 34, from Irlam, was five months into a six-month backpacking holiday when he was found dead in a beach guesthouse in Ashwem Beach, Goa, in March 2008. Read more HERE
Davis Burbank, father of Jonathan Burbank
Jonathan is believed to have been found dead under mysterious circumstances in the State with police once again being accused of dragging their feet in the case.
What about British-Irish citizen Danielle McLaughlin?
In another attack on foreigners in Goa this year, in March, the body of 28-year-old Danielle McLaughlin, a dual British-Irish citizen, was discovered naked in a field. Police have charged 23-year-old Indian man Vikat Bhagat with her rape and murder.Read more HERE