Police blamed for rise in paedophiles

| 03 April 2001 22:19 IST

Goan authorities are presently under severe criticism from several NGOs for being insensitive and negligent in handling cases related to paedophiles and child sex abuse.

The police obviously refute these allegations, claiming that the department is trying best to nab the culprits whenever any case is brought to their notice.

Two such paedophiles were nabbed including one foreign tourist last month on the same day in two different places. Both are however out on the bail, for want of enough evidence.

"The police are not handling the cases in a professional manner, not realising that the victims here are innocent children", alleges Bernie D'Souza, belonging to Jan Ugahi, who alerted the police about 71-year old Midleton Colin John, a British national.

He was found staying in a lodge in a coastal village in South Goa along with two Nepali children. While no medical evidence was found against him, the parents took away their children stating that they had sent them willingly with him.

"John was seen masturbating these children on the beach", alleges D'Souza, adding further that the police even did not record statements of the witnesses. But Shirish Thorat, the Margao DySP, expressed helplessness as no locals are coming forward as witnesses.

Nishtha Desai, belonging to Children's Rights in Goa, however seems to be equally worried that John may also escape the country like two other paedophiles did in the past. Thorat, however, says that the police are keeping strict watch on him, besides attaching his passport and notifying the immigration authorities.

French national Dominique Sabir, associate of Freddy Peats who is already convicted for life imprisonment for running a child sex racket in Goa, as well as Helmut Brinkmann, a German national involved in yet another case, have already fled the country due to negligence on the part of police and immigration authorities.

According to Desai, at least 100 foreign tourists are involved in paedophilic activities all along the coastal belt of Goa while the number of children victimised to satisfy their sexual urge would be double than that.

The CRG has thus now also approached chief minister Manohar Parrikar, placing before him specific demands including a specialised task force to address the increasing problem of paedophilia.

Negligent police and tourist police in keeping watch on foreigners moving with Indian children, faulty or unattended procedures, unprofessional approach towards the child victims and not involving NGOs into the investigations are some major flaws they have pointed out.

Davesh Srivastav, SP (CID), however refuses to accept that the police is at fault. In fact he claims that the department had held sensitisation programmes for its officers and even poster campaign for public awareness with the help of the NGOs.

While the police as well as the NGOs have their own justifications, it appears that the rise of paedophilic activities would continue in a similar fashion in the tourist state as long as the communication gap between them is not filled.

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