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Midnight curfew on Goa beaches

Goa's IGP Kishan Kumar promises to be “ruthless” in his bid to clean up the holiday hotspot, report B Henderson & G Varghese.
Hindustan Times | By Barney Henderson and Gigil Varghese, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 19, 2008 09:55 AM IST

Midnight curfew on all bars and beach shacks has been imposed by Goa police, under fire for the rape and murder of British teenager Scarlette Keeling. The police have also announced a crackdown on drug dealers.

Over 40 people were arrested in an overnight raid on Sunday. An extra 20 officers have been deployed along north Goa beaches who can arrest anyone loitering on the beach.

“We are providing the extra officers to clamp down on drug dealing and improving safety along the stretch of north Goa beaches from Sinquerim to Arambol,” said SP Bosco George.

“We will be strictly enforcing the 11 o’clock music curfew and all beach shacks should be closed by midnight. Anyone found loitering after beach shacks have closed will be questioned and if necessary searched. So far, the extra police presence is having a positive effect.”

At least 126 foreign nationals have died in Goa in the past two years. 40 of them were British.

The Scarlette Keeling murder has highlighted safety concerns and the widespread availability of drugs on Goa beaches. IGP Kishan Kumar, has promised to be “ruthless” in his bid to clean up the holiday hotspot.

“If there are people sitting in a beach shack after the curfew, then we will ask them what they are up to. I will be ruthless — no-one can take Goa for granted.”

Fiona MacKeown, Scarlette’s mother, welcomed the news that safety concerns in Goa are being addressed, but said the real issue is corruption in the police.

“If they can find police officers to patrol beaches that aren’t rapists themselves and can’t be bought off then great,” she said.

“It is good that they are trying to do something, but implementing it will be a problem.”

On Home Minister Ravi Naik’s statement about not renewing her visa. Fiona in a letter to him wrote: “Mr Minister, what you don’t know, is that I love my daughter and would happily die trying to find justice against those who killed her, however high and mighty they are.”

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