Herald: Cops hit with unnatural deaths cover up allegations

Cops hit with unnatural deaths cover up allegations

14 May 2019 06:49am IST

Report by
VIBHA VERMA

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14 May 2019 06:49am IST

Report by
VIBHA VERMA

Finnish national claims deaths of unidentifed persons are being concealed to fudge figures of fatalities of international tourists; Police deny, say the difference is only marginal

PANJIM: A marginal difference in statistics of unnatural deaths in Goa during the tourist season compared to the off-season, has been proffered to allege that police are trying to cover up deaths of foreigners in the State.

It is a fact that the tourist seasons have recorded a higher number of unidentified unnatural deaths (UD) cases than the identified UDs. In the tourist season from October 2018 to April 2019, the State recorded 117 unknown UD cases as against 131 during the same corresponding period in the previous season.

Data sourced from Goa Police indicates that as many as 442 unidentified UD cases have been reported from May 2017 to April 2019 while known unidentified UD cases are 2,467. 

“The unidentified bodies are more during the tourist season and for many months there are no claimants to these. It has been occupying the highest number of cabinets in the Goa Medical College mortuary than the medico-legal cases,” said a police source. 

Finnish national Sanna Cutter, who has been fighting to find her nephew Felix Dahl’s alleged murderer in Goa, has said that Goa Police is concealing facts and figures about the deaths of tourists. She also demanded that the police publish data from all 27 police stations in Goa for the last 10 years of all the tourist deaths in Goa. Cutter also sought to know why many unidentified deaths cases on the Goa Police web site have been posted without photos as she suspects some of those could be of foreign nationals as in the case of Durkin. 

Inspector General of Police Jaspal Singh has denied the allegations, explaining why the department refrains from uploading pictures of certain death cases. “Some bodies are gory which the public would not like to see, which is why we usually do not release these photos,” he said.

The police department also claimed that unidentified deaths are not necessarily murders and the number of cases is not a matter of concern. “Most of these bodies are that of persons living on the roadside or of beggars. The number of UD cases reported in the tourist season is not alarming as the figures have a marginal difference compared to the cases reported on the off-season,” said an officer. 

Sources in the Police Department said, “Generally tourist places attract a large no of beggars and vagabonds as they expect to get alms from tourists. It is quite natural that there would be high incidence of illness among them as they hv no access to medical facilities. Hence, the casualty rate aming such people would be high.”

Cutter, however, brings up case of James Durkin whose body was found in Canacona in 2015, and whose death had been listed as UD, but the body was later identifed and the family demanded a murder investigation, to bolster the case that the Goa Police are hiding deaths of foreigners. While the tourist season lasts eight months, the off season is of four months.

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