In a whole new low for our country, it turns out that India is earning a bad name globally for its women’s security standards. The latest incident, where a Japanese woman was held against her will and raped in West Bengal, has almost sealed the fate of the anyway tanking Indian Tourism Industry.
According to a report in Financial Times, the Indian Tourism Minister condemns the alleged rape of a Japanese visitor near the Buddhist holy city of Bodh Gaya, calling it a “national shame”. He expresses his concern over the rising number of reported attacks on foreign and local women that are negating their efforts to enhance Indian tourism.
The police have arrested 5 men in connection with the crime. The men, who wooed the 22 year old with their fluent Japanese, offered to show her some tourist spots around Bodh Gaya. They then held her captive for 12 days and robbed her off her money as well as her bank balance through her credit cards. Two of the men even allegedly raped her. After she was released, she reported the men to Kolkata police on December 26 and headed to the Japanese Consulate. Two of the five are being held on suspicion of rape, while three others are accused of crimes such as extortion, criminal conspiracy and kidnapping.
The threat to our tourism has not just arisen with this incident, as many of this nature have been brought to light in the past decade. In 2007 three people were arrested for allegedly drugging and raping two Japanese tourists in Agra. In 2010 three men were convicted for the rape of a 25 year old Japanese tourist while she was traveling to the Gaya railway station, after her trip to Bodh Gaya. They were given life sentences. And as recently as 2013, five men robbed and raped a Swiss cyclist, who was in India to camp across Madhya Pradesh with her husband. And last January, a 51-year-old Danish tourist was robbed and raped right outside New Delhi railway station.
India, a beautiful country rife with culture and heritage, has a lot to offer to tourists. Yet, it only receives 7 million tourists every year, as compared to the 27 million, for instance, that Thailand receives. In fact, we also opened up our doors to visitors from over 40 countries like Australia, by offering them the provision of procuring a Visa on Arrival, just by registering online prior to their trip.
Yet, many governments are issuing strong words of caution to the women of their country who intend to travel to India. As told to by a UK travel advisory to Financial Times, “Reported cases of sexual assault against women and young girls are increasing. Recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk.”
The Japanese government also compiles a safety manual on its website for its citizens who are traveling. Their manual for travelers to India was last updated warning of sexual assault and theft perpetrated against female Japanese visitors in popular tourist areas including New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Bodh Gaya.
ORIGINAL SOURCE: Asia Pacific
[Feature Picture Courtesy: The National Turk]