Despite the claims of the district police of taking measures to curb the crime targeting tourists and devotees visiting the Golden Temple, roads in the areas situated close to the shrine continue to be risky for the foreign and domestic pilgrims and visitors. If cops are to be believed, crimes targeting tourists have come down by almost 89% this year.
While cops claim that their efforts have significantly reduced the incidents of crime targeting tourists, visitors and devotees continue to feature on the muggers’ scanner as is evident by some recently reported incidents.
This is primarily because some of the auto rickshaw pullers in the city, carting pilgrims and tourists also act as tourist guides.
Last year, the Amritsar police arrested a few gangs of auto rickshaw pullers, who were into robbing tourists and devotees, testifies to this fact. Another reason, which is often attributed to incidents involving tourists, is the absence of tourism police in the city. This is irrespective of the fact that the district police authorities had promised that the tourism police wing would be launched by the end of 2014.
While specially designed booths had also been constructed at different places, the tourism police remained out of sight. In one of the most recent cases, a tourist from Delhi, a group captain in the Indian Air Force, was mugged by unidentified men on a motorcycle, while he was on his way with his family to a well-known eatery in the walled city on a rickshaw after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple. The incident took place near Katra Jaimal Singh.
The muggers decamped with his sister-in-law’s purse containing some jewelry, bank documents and some other credentials, and some cash besides a mobile phone and a tablet. In another case reported in January, a tourist, also hailing from Delhi, was accosted by two unidentified persons riding a motorcycle near Bharawa da Dhaba and the accused stole his bag containing some cash, important documents, keys of his scooter and his house.
Not just the domestic tourists, but also the NRIs and foreigners continue to be targeted by the robbers. Last year, on September 26, an unidentified person allegedly robbed Satpal Singh, an NRI and a resident of Vikaspuri, New Delhi, when he came to the Golden Temple with his family to pay obeisance.
On September 16 last year, an unidentified person was booked on charges of robbing Cleamence Thevenious, a resident of France. The accused stole her purse containing a passport with some bank and other documents, 25 Euros (`1,877) and a few other things.
The incident occurred while she was depositing her shoes at the ‘jora ghar’ (shoe house) of the Golden Temple, during her visit to the shrine. A day later, Richard Cavteu Charley, a resident of Netherlands, was robbed near the 100-feet road. Her purse containing some Indian currency and 350 Euros (equaling `25,553) was stolen in the incident.
Amritsar police commissioner Jatinder Singh Aulakh said on account of the measures taken by the district police, crimes targeting tourists had reduced by almost 89%.
“There has been a significant reduction in crimes against tourists, particularly the incidents of snatching,” he said.
He, however, added that as of now there was no proposal of introducing tourism police.