Goa gets a bad name after 15 year old girl is murdered
The brutal murder of a 15 year girl has destroyed Goa’s ‘image’. This timesonline (UK) article says:
..the suspected rape and murder of Scarlett Keeling, a 15-year-old British girl found dead last month on the famous Anjuna beach, has now shattered the Indian state’s reputation as a “hippy paradise”, free of worldly evils.
I didn’t know that was Goa’s image…free of worldly evils? Well, if that was the image of Goa amongst some people, it needed to be busted.
Goa is known for its drugs
Everyone who’s been to Goa knows that the drug trade there is flourishing. True, the drug angle to the murder has surfaced only now in the police investigations but the fact that Goa is a drug haven is an open secret. That’s one of the attractions for tourists. Why, there are even personal accounts on the internet with warnings to be careful with drugs in Goa as you can caught by the police or because the drug dealers and druggies are often dangerous people.
It is also common knowledge that in Goa the Russians mafia is involved in everything from drugs to sex. It isn’t just the Russians, there are also the Israelis and the Scotts and the Nigerians and the Kenyans and ofcourse, the Indians. Here’s what a recent article said:
The Russian mafia is suspected to be exporting the drugs all over the country There are reports which would suggest that the mafia in Goa is also actively involved in sending out drugs to various parts of the country and the world…with Goa becoming a haven of drugs, rave and sex, its beaches have become a major market for foreign narcotics dealers. While Russians have taken over the drug business in Morjim and Arambol beaches in Pernem, Israelis run the show at Vagator. The Scotts trade in Calangute and Baga, while the Nigerians and Kenyans dominate Candolim… Many of the Goans themselves are not too far behind. In the once hippie heartland of Anjuna, local boys are the main narco dealers… But everyone is “untouchable” in this sordid nexus between the peddlers, police and locals.
This nexus between the drug dealers and the police has to hold the key to the murder and the subsequent cover-up. Scarlett’s death was initially listed by the police as ‘death by drowning’ under the influence of drugs, but this has been revealed to be a cover-up. It has emerged that while she was indeed under the influence of drugs that night (some say a cocktail of drugs). What is also apparent is that some people took advantage of her and she was assaulted and murdered.
The allegation that the Goa government tried to hush up the murder to ‘protect’ Goa’s image is bullshit though. Has to be. I mean, why should a low-level cop directly investigating the case be concerned with Goa’s image? Clearly he was asked to do so by the killers. So now this cop has been transferred and the investigation is being done by another policeman. But why has the errant cop not been suspended?
Who are the killers?
Well, a man Scarlett was with the night she was killed (Samson D’Souza) has been arrested and apparently some more people, including another man she was with the night she was found dead have been detained. However Scarlett’s mother, Fiona MacKeown, is not satisfied and wants a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe. I don’t blame her. Why would she trust the Goa police after what has happened? However the Chief Minister has turned down her request.
But the motive for Scarlett’s murder remains a mystery. Were the people she was living with (her tour guide boyfriend Julio whom she had met a few weeks earlier, and his aunts) involved in the drug trade and do they have something to do with her death? Or did Scarlett meet some druggies on the beach after Samson left her there (he claims he left her alive). Was it the drug mafia who wanted to bump her off because they felt she had found out something? Or was she simply the victim of sexual violence? The bruises on her body are shocking. If she was under the influence of heavy drugs it would not have been necessary to assault her like that to get sex…unless the killer is deranged. So why was she beaten up? Was it to intimidate her into keeping quiet about something?
Well, whoever killed her influenced the police to keep quiet, no one doubts that anymore. I feel there has to be more than one person involved in Scarlett’s death…otherwise why would a British man called Mike Masala (who was allegedly a witness to the crime) run away from Goa because he feared for his life? Surely he couldn’t be afraid of just one man…
More questions than answers. I don’t know what will happen to the case, but what is clear is that Goa hasn’t been a paradise for a long time now. Well, not unless you are the typical tourist who comes to Goa to simply soak in the sun and the sea, stays in the sanitized areas and avoids all contact with drugs and drug dealers.
(Photo of Scarlett is from the telegraph (UK) and the second picture is by me)
Update: 14th March 08. Another man, Placido Carvalho, was arrested by the Goa Police. He together with Samson have been charged with raping and drugging Scarlett. What is being claimed by the police is that after the assault the unconscious girl was left on the beach and died due to drowning due to the high tide. Her mother however says the police are still covering up the murder as if Scarlett was so high on drugs why was she beaten? She has asked for a CBI inquiry and has written to the Prime Minister. She believes that these two men will be let off finally as nothing will be proved against them. It does seem so as many witnesses had seen Scarlett in a drugged state before she encountered these two men. However, in India sex with a minor, even if it is consensual, is rape. So this men will certainly be charged with rape…but whether it will be proved that she was murdered is something that one cannot say.
Update, 18th March: The news in the newspapers is that Mike Masala has testified against his room-mate Samson (who will certainly be convicted of rape) but he has also said that he saw another man…we’ll get more news on this later.
Also, the Goa police has written to the central government to disallow Fiona (Scarlett’s mother) from entering India again as she has a criminal background. Apparently she has spend a year in jail for manslaughter in the U.K. t
The best news is that the Goa beaches are now crawling with police and the police are cracking down on the drug dens. I am sure it’s a superficial exercise, and nothing will happen to the drug lords…
Update, 25th March 2008: The case is taking new twists and turns. The pathologist who has claimed that Scarlett did not drown while unconscious but was deliberately drowned has been suspended. Link here. While I have full sympathy for Scarlett’s mother, it is indeed that she is lying by saying that her daughter did not drink. This way she will lose the support she has. Link here.