In an interview to CNN-IBN on Wednesday, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat obliquely blamed the Russian girl, who was allegedly raped by local politician John Fernandes, for the incident, saying she should not have gone out with male acquaintances late in the night. Excerpts from the interview:
The Russian lady has alleged that the Goa police forced her to file a complaint of alleged rape as opposed to rape
See, after this incident came to light, I had a discussion with the home minister and the director general of police. We found that there was a lot of difference in what was being published and what was said. The fact told to me by the DGP was that when this lady came to the police station, she brought a complaint in writing, in which she had said she had been molested.
Subsequently, when she came back again, she said she had been raped or an attempt has been made to rape her. The DGP said that since the incident concerned a foreign lady and since some doubts had been raised, he did not want to take chances and so the case was immediately given to the Crime Branch. They asked the Goa Medical College to form a team of three doctors and send this lady for medical examination. They are investigating all the possibilities.
In between -- the accused -- they all say he is senior politician. For the record, he contested one election which he lost. Otherwise, I don't think anybody had heard his name in the political field. Whoever he may be, we have given an absolutely clear mandate to the police that no mercy should be shown to anybody who indulges in such types of acts, especially against women. The police have already taken a decision to go in for an appeal against the anticipatory bail that has been granted to the accused.
The police have already decided to give her a security cover so that there is no threat to her life.
Do you believe that Goa's image has taken a beating by this incident? This is not the first such case. Do you believe Goa will be seen as an unsafe place?
I don't agree. First, you should go to the root cause of this case. What was this lady doing so late in the night with some people? Why did she accompany this man in this car? These are some of the questions which have to be answered.
Surely Mr Kamat you are not blaming the women for having gone out with them? Does that justify rape?
But you are a foreign lady, you are a foreign woman. Unless you are well acquainted with somebody, why would you go out with him in the night? This is a tourist place. When our people go abroad, they always try to take precautions. Similarly, tourists who come to Goa should also try to take precautions.
Now if you will move around with anybody in the night and then try to say that Now the police can't keep a watch on each and everybody.
Surely you are not suggesting that tourists should be fearful about stepping out in Goa?
I am not saying that tourists should not go to secluded areas -- where incidents like this have happened, the tourists have gone to places that don't have much crowd or people. You accompany somebody at 12 pm in the car, that creates a problem.
You are saying that the onus of security is on individual women and not on the police?
I don't think so. The police cannot give protection to each and everyone. How will the police know where you are going, where you are staying and with whom you are going out? They also have to follow a certain code of conduct.
When we go abroad, we also follow a certain code of conduct. In an earlier incident, when Scarlett's mother had gone to Karnataka leaving her alone, this was highlighted by some media people (British teenager Scarlett Keeling was found murdered on a Goa beach).