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Goa's special force to combat crimes against tourists

The Goa tourism department is in the process of setting up a Special Tourist Security Force to tackle the rising number of crimes against tourists in the state.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2009 15:24 IST

The Goa tourism department is in the process of setting up a Special Tourist Security Force (STSF) to tackle the rising number of crimes against tourists in the state.

The government's intent in setting up the STSF has been articulated in the annual administration report tabled in the Goa assembly on Tuesday by Tourism Minister Francisco Pacheco.

"Setting up a Special Tourist Security Force named as tourist security organisation is proposed to be formulated in order to provide additional protection and guidance to the tourists visiting the state," the report states.

Assaults on foreign women tourists and inability of the Goa Police to handle such crimes have embarrassed the state government.

The rape of a 25-year-old Russian woman December 2 by a local politician at Colva, a resort in south Goa, is the latest scandal to hit the state.

The woman has alleged that the police not only harassed her into not allowing her to register a complaint but also ensured that the accused avoided arrested.

Speaking to IANS, Lyndon Monteiro, officer on special duty to the tourism minister, said the state government was committed to the safety of tourists in Goa.

"We are in the process of setting up the STSF at the earliest to ensure full protection to the tourists coming to Goa," he said, without divulging the exact details or the nature of the proposed force.

Goa attracts nearly two million tourists annually - almost twice its population. About 450,000 of the tourists are foreigners.