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Asking foreigners for selfies is intrusion of their privacy: Tourism minister

Tourism minister KJ Alphons said Indians should not be obsessed with white skin and leave the foreign tourists alone.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2017 13:47 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
selfies,selfie,selfie with tourists
Girls take a selfie at an event in Punjab’s Ludhiana. Tourism minister KJ Alphons has asked people not to force foreigners for selfies. (HT File Photo)

Union minister of state for tourism KJ Alphons has said Indians should not force foreigners to take selfies with them as it amounts to “intrusion of their privacy”, pointing to the attack on a young Swiss couple that left them with a skull fracture and a broken arm.

“It’s not a right thing to do. Why don’t you leave the tourists alone? Why are we so obsessed with the white skin? It’s an intrusion into their privacy,” Alphons said on Thursday.

He was addressing the CII’s annual tourism summit International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in New Delhi.

The minister pointed out to the recent attacks on foreign tourists in India and said that some of them were triggered after locals insisted on taking selfies with them.

Alphons was referring to the incident in Fatehpur Sikri near Agra when Quentin Jeremy Clerc and Marie Droz were chased and attacked with stones and sticks on October 22 by a group of five men.

Clerc was left with a fractured skull and Droz sustained multiple bruises and fractured her left arm in the incident that triggered widespread outrage.

In another incident earlier this month a group of six French tourists, along with their friends from India, were allegedly harassed on a visit to a waterfall in Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur, close to Varanasi.

The minister advised the locals hanging around Indian heritage sites to desist from “possessing an obsession for white skin” and let the foreign tourists roam around freely.

Alphons asserted that India is safe for the foreign tourists and said the incidents of attacks on tourists were deplorable.

The bureaucrat-turned minister, who was inducted by the Bharatiya Janata Party with an eye to make inroads in Kerala, has been in the news for his remarks.

Alphons stoked a controversy in September by saying that tourists can eat beef before coming to India. The minister also accused the global media of a bias against India and blowing “minor” incidents of attacks on foreign tourists out of proportion.

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 13:47 IST