Herald: Devbag met Donegal in the memory of Danielle, with calls for justice and safety

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Devbag met Donegal in the memory of Danielle, with calls for justice and safety

13 Mar 2019 04:08am IST
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13 Mar 2019 04:08am IST
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On the second anniversary of the murder of Danielle McLaughlin, an Irishwoman from Buncrana in the Donegal county of Ireland, simultaneous memorial services were held in Donegal and Devbag in Canacona where the 28-year-old was murdered. McLaughlin was raped and murdered in the area on March 13, 2017, with her body being found on March 14. A sustained movement by relatives and friends has raised several red flags about the safety of tourists and the pace of investigations. Café looks at the impact this could have on the “feel at home”, chilled and peaceful vibe that Goa has, which has traditionally drawn tourists more than any formal campaign

  “She was just 28 that time and had the entire life to explore and experience”- Andrea Brannigan,  mother of Daniel McLaughlin to Herald, from Ireland



Fear is the Key. In the four coastal police stations

that have see the maximum number of deaths of foreigners, 245 from 2005 to 2015, life still does go on. Short term and seasonal holiday makers arrive, men and women, often single parents moving with their children to live here; many move out of big cities to live and work remotely giving a new profile of people across Assagao, Uccasaim. They meet, attend functions together, eat out, go for walks, their children have play dates in an adopted land that is their solace and refuge. Quite clearly, fear should not be the key and yet if you scratch the layer of this very fine fabric of peace and harmony, fear lurks.

In a discussion held at 6 Assagao on the uneasy link between deaths of foreigners in Goa and the safety perception of the state, this underlying unease emerged. The discussion was based and inspired by one of the stories Café did last week on locals as well as foreigners. And some of the voices that emerged underlined this unease. Vijay Jhangiani, who moved from Bombay and helps those he knows locate and buy villas and other pieces of real estate, says, “The beaches don’t feel as safe. When my wife walks in the North Goa batches, she feels hemmed in with groups of males converging. This raises anxiety.”

Noted human rights lawyer Advocate Caroline Colaco spoke at length about tardy police investigations, botching up of evidence on the scene of crime, the lack of forensic support and delays of up to a year to get samples tested.

It is not just deaths of foreigners but a changing environment of hostility that is threatening the safety fabric. Many of those in the discussion live in the villages of Siolim, Parra, Assagao and Anjuna. There was a great deal of resonance when the discussion turned to the how Nigerians, many of whom are involved in drug related cases, have started living in the village, renting homes.

Aljai Singh from Siolim raised some very practical points. She said she felt “scared and helpless and didn’t know where to go if she came across shocking incidents. “A young girl was found dead in Siolim recently and we didn’t know what to do to get the police to speed up the case and investigate. The media didn’t bother either.” She stressed on the need to come up with a collective, a forum or at least find a way out for people like her to be a part of a collective that unitedly takes up issues like violence and threatening of peace and safety of locals as well as foreigners.

Raksha Kumari, who lived in Spain and now lives in Baga in Goa, mentioned that the Spanish coastline in Andalucía has similar problem. But Andalucía overcame this fear through a series of simple but effective measures such as:

- Every town hall has a Citizens’ Advice Bureau, for residents and visitors

- A Complaints’ Bureau for citizens

- Easy, smooth information-filled and interactive websites

- Consistent awareness campaigns geared to educating the masses on Safety

Many lives have indeed been lost, many live snatched of mostly young foreigners. That doesn’t mean Goa is unsafe, but we must take into account pockets of unsafe areas and loom at better policing and investigating.






Good news first: Amendment to Victim’s Charter of Ireland to be called Danielle’s Amendment




An amendment to a charter to give greater

rights to Irish nationals victimised abroad and relatives of those who die or get killed abroad is on its way to being named after Danielle McLaughlin, the Irish woman who was killed in the Canacona taluka, not far from the Palolem beach, on March 13, 2017, two years ago.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have submitted a proposal to the Department of Justice and Equality with regard to amending the Victims Charter. ‘The Department of Justice have agreed to this and the amendment will be called Danielle’s amendment,’ her mother Andrea Brannigan announced in a Facebook post. She wrote: “The update we have got today that has gotten us so emotional and excited to see the outcome is: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have submitted a proposal to the Department of Justice and Equality with regard to amending the Victims Charter.”

Andrea Brannigan said that they finally had one piece of good news that could help other families in the future. Danielle McLaughlin’s mother received a personal apology from the Government last year after meeting with the Taoiseach over the murder and rape of her daughter in India.

“As a lot of you know this week marks the second year anniversary of Danielle’s cruel passing, it has also been six months since our meeting with Leo Varadkar (Prime Minister),” Brannigan wrote.

She spoke to Herald, two days ago. In a telephonic conversation from Ireland, she informed that she has not come out of the shock of the untimely death of her young daughter. “She was just 28 that time and had the entire life to explore and experience,” she said, with sorrow in her voice.

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