When two wmen travelling on a two-wheeler can be stopped, threatened at knifepoint and an attempt at stealing gold jewellry made, then there is something that is sorely lacking in the security in the State.
There are thefts, rapes and murders, and while the police force may claim that the rate of crime in the State is declining, there are instance such at this which question the safety and security of the people of Goa. Is it safe to walk on the streets of the State?
According to the complaint filed with the police, the woman and her daughter were riding a two-wheeler in the early morning, when at the Comba railway underbridge they were blocked by persons on another two-wheeler. The persons attempted to rob the woman of her gold chain by stabbing her on the neck, but the arrival of another vehicle from the other side of the underpass alarmed the thieves who then fled. All this happened at around 5.35am, an hour when there are few people on the streets, which leads to the assumption that the persons who attempted the robbery were lying in wait for a susceptible victim and seeing two women on a two-wheeler decided to attack them. Where is the security for women in Goa? Are people on the street safe anymore? Is police patroling during the night effective enough to stop crime?
On Republic Day this year, addressing the gathering at the State function Governor Dr Mridula Sinha had announced that the crime rate in Goa had seen a decline of 8.26 per cent in the last year, and that law and order was under control. We will neither debate nor argue with the statistics, as this is the overall crime rate that includes all crimes which was being mentioned. What we are concerned with here is the safety of the person walking on the street, the person riding a bike or driving a car and going his way. If two women can be waylaid in the town of Margao, this can happen elsewhere too. To ask again: Is it safe to walk on the streets of Goa?
If we look back at the past few months, then the answer would be no. The number of examples may not be many, but the nature of the crimes is reprehensible. We are all too familiar with the rape case that took place in Betalbatim last year and the quick response of the police that led to tracking the perpetrators of the crime. But then what happened? The main accused, who is also wanted for crimes in his home State of Madhya Pradesh, escaped in December last while he was undergoing treatment in hospital and five months later he is yet to be captured. Another case was of a British tourist who, again in the early morning, was walking to the beach from the Canacona railway station as the train had been delayed and was attacked and raped. Here too the police quicky arrested a man for the crime.
Crime in the State, especially crime against women, needs to be tackled with renewed vigour. Just image, had not the other vehicle providentially arrived at that moment, what could have happened on Tuesday morning in Margao? It is the safety of the people that matters most and the State has the responsibility to ensure that all people are safe at all times. Every time a tourist is attacked or raped in Goa, the State gets a bad reputation as the international media picks up the crime to highlight. Police patrolling of the streets, especially at night, needs to be increased so that criminals are detered by the presence of the uniforms. That’s the least that the authorities can do.