Threats from ‘dead founder of IS’ spook dentists in Goa
Police confirm that all letters were signed off under the name Abu Zarqawi and that they are looking into CCTV footage.india Updated: Jul 17, 2017 23:56 IST
Dentists in Goa’s Calangute-Baga region are spooked after at least five of them received hand-written extortion letters demanding a ransom of Rs 2 crore as “protection money”.
The spooky bit: All letters were signed in the name of the dead Islamic State (IS) founder Abu Zarqawi, police said.
Dentist Rachna Fernandes, who practices in the south Goa town known for its sun-kissed beaches, told HT she received the letter around a month ago and lodged a complaint with the local police station.
“I was shocked to see the signature on it,” said Fernandes.
Police confirm that all letters were signed off under the name Abu Zarqawi and that they are looking into CCTV footage from around the area. “Why the person has done this we will know after the investigation is completed…As the letter came through post it becomes a little difficult,” inspector Jibva G Dalvi at the Calangute police station said. Police have registered a case against unknown persons.
Fernandes said the hand-written note said she was being followed by someone who was aware how flourishing her practice was. “He instructed me to give Rs 2 crore or he will shoot me. I was also asked to tie a white cloth on my clinic if I agree with his demand,” added Fernandes.
Out of fear, she tied a white cloth to the door of her clinic but nothing happened till July 4, when she received another letter through post. This time though, the threat letter — though identical to the first one — was addressed to some other dentist, whose clinic had a name similar to that of Fernandes.
“I practice at Calangute but I have another clinic at Ponda in south Goa, so during off season I usually practice at the Ponda one. I was scared when I received this letter as dentists we are so accessible by the common people that anybody can walk in and harm us,” said another woman dentist in the area, who requested anonymity.
Fernandes inquired with other local colleagues and found that several such letters had been received.
“The name used by the person in the end has shaken me up. It shows that the person is not in for some prank as this is the second letter sent to me,” said another dentist who requested to not be named.
Sources revealed the Maharashtra anti-terror squad (ATS) is probing in the matter as one of the dentists who received the letter was from Maharashtra and practised in Goa during the season. Last month, HT reported how dental tourism had exploded in Goa and dentists in the Calangute region were making a killing as thousands of tourists flocked to the state to avail packages that include cost-effective treatment and great vacations.