A labourer who was burnt alive at Torda in Salvador do Mundo succumbed to his injuries at GMC on Thursday. The horrific incident once again sends out a grim reminder that law and order in the State is falling apart. A man burnt for raising his voice against illegality is not acceptable on any count and should be dealt with severely. What kind of safety is the government assuring tourists given this background?
The incident happened in the afternoon hours and reflected a care-a-damn attitude of the culprits to the law. Goa has been in the midst of churn with protest happening over almost every project that affects people, their lives, livelihoods or even the environment. Such macabre cases not only disturb the peace but will instil fear in the minds of people who are standing up against the high and mighty. In September, a 41-year-old Margao jeweller was shot dead in the afternoon after assailants barged into his shop and fired from close range. Are criminals taking our police force for granted? Or is enforcement falling short?
The chief minister made an interesting statement earlier this week that Goa will have two more police districts with Mapusa and Ponda identified as new centres. He claims that two Superintendents of Police are not enough to oversee remote parts of Goa. Leave aside the argument of the proposal becoming a reality any time soon; Goa needs heightened policing right now. Criminals are not afraid of the law and order or the occasional talk of tight surveillance. A case in point is the series of burglaries that happened barely a couple of days after DGP visited Margao and reassured people of better vigil following the jeweller’s murder. In one night, burglars broke into four shops in the heart of the city, leaving the police patrol clueless.
Crimes such as burning people alive and shooting were once upon a time unheard in Goa, and the State looked upon such happenings in States like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh with shock and disbelief. Lately, the crime scene in Goa is moving in alarming proportions.
Goa has a vast confluence of people from other States because apart from the desi tourists descending, it is primarily dependent on labour force from other States. There is an immediate need to re-strategise policing. Bicholim Police Station ranked 9th in the top 10 police station in the country in 2019 released by Ministry of Home Affairs, and that is encouraging. Goa has to learn lessons from bigger states and reinvent itself.
The Goa Tourism Policy 2020 and the master plan proposes to make Goa one of the safest tourism destinations. People cannot vouch for safety in the State going by the horror that the State has seen lately. Ghastly crimes such as these will only fill the air with despair and insecurity. It’s time the government makes a concerted effort to restore the peace that was once synonymous to Goa.