Goa moves to protect tourists from protests
Authorities in the western state ensure tourists' safety by deploying more cops to guard beachgoers.india Updated: Dec 26, 2007 21:42 IST
Armed police are to guard beachgoers in Goa after activists, opposed to carving out industrial enclaves in India's tourist haven, warned tourists to leave by Friday or face violent protests.
Authorities in the western state have sought to play down the threat, saying tourists need not worry as extra security was being posted along its golden beaches as a "precaution" during the peak holiday season.
"We have made it clear that, if anybody tries to indulge in any undesirable activity, we will act strongly," said JP Singh, Goa's most senior bureaucrat.
"We will have 200-300 extra policemen provide protection to tourists," he told Reuters.
The small coastal state has approved the creation of seven industrial enclaves.
But opponents of the development, including the main opposition parties, say industry will damage the region's fragile ecology and hurt tourism, Goa's economic mainstay.
"We are not happy holding the protest but we have no option because the government wouldn't listen to us," said Mathany Saldanha, convenor of the Goa Movement Against Special Economic Zones.
"We don't want the tourists to face any trouble, so we are requesting them to leave by Friday."
India is facing violent protests from farmers over compulsory acquisition of farmland to build hundreds of special economic zones, Chinese-style tax-free industrial enclaves to boost manufacturing and export growth and provide jobs.