Two foreigners arrested in Goa for illegal paragliding

Panaji, Dec 8 (IANS) Two foreign nationals, including a Russian, have been arrested and a third is being traced after police cracked down on illegally-run paragliding operations in Goa, an official said on Tuesday.

Pavel Isipchuk from Russia and Anton Antonov from Belarus, both paragliding operators, were arrested after the police operation on Monday night in the coastal village of Arambol, popular with Russian tourists, said police inspector Devendra Gad.

“The arrested duo was carrying out paragliding operations without requisite permissions. One other foreigner, who was filming the police raid, is missing. We believe he too was part of the illegal paragliding set-up at Keri-Arambol,” Gad told IANS on Tuesday.

Paragliding, an adventure sport which is popular with foreign tourists in coastal Goa, was brought under strict government control in September this year after Syed Ashfaque, an alleged Indian Mujahideen operative arrested by the Bengaluru police in connection with a terror plot earlier this year, claimed to have done paragliding for five days at the same beach village of Arambol, 40 km from Panaji.

During his interrogation, Ashfaque revealed to the Bengaluru police that he had undertaken the paragliding training in November 2013 and hinted at a possible aerial terror attack in the country.

The September order issued by the North Goa district collector necessitates paragliding schools and paragliding enthusiasts to seek permissions from a host of government departments, including the local police, director of tourism, Panaji, sub-divisional magistrate of the area, the Director General of Civil Aviation, as also the Air Traffic Controller at Dabolim.

Gad said the two paragliders did not have the requisite permissions.

“Our inquiry has revealed that there were no permissions issued to them,” Gad told IANS.

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