09 Oct 2021  |   06:30am IST

Goa has become a state where you get away with murder

Goa has become a state where you get away with murder

- A politically controlled state police apparatus has the image of going soft on crime and criminals

- There’s a very long list of murders and rapes but a very short list of those who have been caught by law


Murders, gang wars and rapes have almost become a part of Goa’s daily existence. There are so many families that are heartbroken and fighting for justice for their sons, daughters or parents and other loved ones.

At the same time the deaths of so many foreigners whose family members and their support groups are convinced they have been killed, and are fighting long drawn out battles for justice.

Herald Insight

has been at the forefront of joining all grieving loved ones in their quest for justice. But sadly, the state has not been. None of the major parties in power in Goa have made justice for the victims of crime a priority. Case investigations go on for months and years. At times not a single arrest is made. Take the case of Siddhi Naik the teenaged girl from Nachinola whose semi-nude body was found in the waters of Calangute beach on August 13 after she went missing the previous day.

Herald’s sustained coverage of the manner of her death, the manner of the post-mortem report and the decision not to preserve her viscera led to the setting up of a medical committee which ordered a fresh look at the manner of her death. Her father who almost became a detective running around the beaches trying to finds clues filed a murder complaint on September 2. For a month and a half, an FIR for murder has not been registered.

Even the CCTV footage from the area near the beach on that night isn’t available because the CCTV cameras were not functioning on that night.

Murder of Jeweller Swapnil Valke in Margao, the fatal setting ablaze of Vilas Methar in Porvorim, the double murder of contractor Minguel Miranda and his mother-in-law at Fatorda, the day time supari killing of Amar Naik at Bogmolo and the deaths of two Russian women are just some of the killings from 2020 onwards.

The calendar of rape makes the blood of Goans boil

A minor girl raped in Bicholim, two minor girls raped in Benaulim beach by four, one woman raped at Usgao, a 13-year-old girl raped at Sattari, an infant raped by her father are cases that have happened in Goa in less than two years since 2020. Yes, our Goa. The whole country took to the streets when one young girl, named Nirbhaya was brutalised and killed in Delhi. That shook the nation and bought about a change in rape laws and punishment. In Goa, there are so many ‘Nirbhayas’ that have happened. The rapists roam free.

In addition, there are so many gang wars, abductions, fights over property that Goans are losing count.

The gang war in Calangute this week involved four history-sheeters. Swords and rods were liberally used. And this did not happen in any remote area but right in the heart of the most crowded tourist belt. 

Why has Goa been allowed to be a playground of crime? Why can’t ruling governments address this?

The answer is simple. The police are not servants of people. They have become servants of politicians who decide on transfers, postings of both senior and lower-level officials. Constables to PIs are personal loyalists of politicians. Their master is an MLA or minister and not the constitution or the crime book. When their entire energy is focused on making life more lucrative for themselves and their masters, will they have the time or inclination to solve crimes and give justice to the poor?

And it doesn’t matter which government is in power. The politics in the police and the absence of justice for the power has been felt across governments, in the 2000s.

Was Goa ever a state where people felt unsafe or where justice could be bought?

Once upon a time, Goa was known as a place where doors of homes were kept open, people left for other villages or went on holidays keeping their homes unlocked with their neighbours looking after them. Mothers and daughters took long walks on the beach in the late evening and night. It is in the same Goa now where the parents of girls are advised to monitor and keep a watch over them when they go out at nights.

Keep policing out of the hands of politicians. Let it be done professionally

The current ruling parties have kept a stronghold over the police only to misuse the uniformed police force for their own political and other needs. Will Goans now demand a party that can keep Goans safe, their homes and beaches safe, their streets and markets safe? That can happen only when the ruling party decides to have an independent police commission that is run by professionals. The powers of transfers posting, investigations, modernisation and infrastructure should be in the hands of this police commission.

Otherwise we will still have cases where a jeweller in Margao is shot in broad daylight but their escape could not be caught on camera because there were no functional CCTVs on the streets of Margao. Will also no one ask why the CCTVs around Calangute beach were not working when Siddhi Naiks’ body floated on the beach.

When the police did not insist on the viscera of Siddhi Naik to be preserved, why has no one held the local police and district police accountable? A police commission will ask professional questions that political leadership will not.

Let us make our choices clear. Will Goans realise that a good government is also a government that acts as a good judge, a good protector and a good policeman?

Today Goans must ask the right questions and be satisfied that the people they choose are the ones who pledge to give them a Goa where the basic sense of safety and justice is not only given but felt. That is totally lacking now.



Idhar Udhar