Goa minister calls gang-rape accused naive, small-time criminals

Panaji, June 4 (IANS) Goa Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar on Thursday dubbed five youths who allegedly gang-raped two women tourists from Delhi as “nadaan” (naive) and “small-time criminals”.

He, however, said he regretted the crime in the tourism-oriented coastal belt, and tried to assure tourists that the incident was an aberration.

“The boys are ‘nadaan’ and have cases of small crimes registered against them. This will not happen in the future,” Parulekar told reporters here.

“I regret the incident which happened in Goa. The character of the boys involved in the rape of the women is not good. They were working in a hotel; and whichever hotel they worked in, they were booked for small-time robberies,” the minister said.

Five people were arrested on Tuesday for posing as policemen and then abducting, beating and sexually assaulting two young women tourists from Delhi who were holidaying at a popular beach stretch in Goa, police said on Wednesday.

The two women told the police that they were raped through Monday night and Tuesday before a police team rescued them. Police reached the spot after the driver of a taxi the women were riding in complained to the police.

Parulekar also praised the police’s prompt response and arrests within seven to eight hours.

“Tourists should not think that these things are common in Goa,” the minister said.

Goa, a top beach tourism destination in India, attracts over three million tourists annually. However, several high-profile crimes against women over the past few years have put Goa in a negative light.

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