Three women were found murdered with their bodies partially charred in separate incidents over the last three days in Goa, even as the police on Tuesday brushed aside queries about the safety of women in the state.
When a woman journalist asked police spokesperson Superintendent of Police (CID) Atmaram Deshpande during a press conference Tuesday evening about the safety of women in Goa, in light of recent serial killings with a body-count of 16 and the three latest murders, the official quipped: "Women in Goa are as safe as you are standing in my office - full of your male colleagues."
The three murders and the similarity in attempts made to char the face of the victim, comes on the heels of a shocking serial killing saga in Goa, when Mahanand Naik, a rickshaw driver, was arrested for strangulating 16 women to death over the last 10 years.
When asked about the possibility of another serial killing in the current spate of murders, Deshpande said: "We are not ruling out anything at the moment. But it is too early to call these serial killings."
Of the three people killed, one has been identified as a 16-year-old minor residing on the outskirts of Panaji. The other two aged 25 and 19, whose bodies were found in remote locations in Khorjuem, 25 km from Panaji and in Verna in South Goa, have not been identified yet.
Interestingly, the state authorities have not been able to conduct a post mortem on any of the three bodies, because of the inability of the police forensics experts to cobble together a panel of doctors for a post mortem.
"Such delays happen. The post mortem of the bodies will in all likelihood be carried out tomorrow (Wednesday)," Deshpande said.
Crimes against women in Goa have hit the media spotlight in the last couple of years, with the murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling and the mysterious death of Russian teenager Elena Sukhonova, earlier this year.
Alleged serial killer Mahanand Naik's murder rampage, where he strangulated 16 women with their own dupattas, were also elaborately reported in local media, as was Home Minister Ravi Naik's subsequent statement that "women should no longer wear dupattas on their churidars", because Mahanand had used the clothing appendage to strangle his victims.