Goa is the world’s favourite destination, but in recent times, it has also emerged as a haven for terrorists and criminals wanted in different parts of the globe to rest till the heat is off them.
It started long back with the dramatic arrest of Charles Shobraj the serial killer nicknamed bikini killer who is currently imprisoned in Nepal.
Then in 2008 we had the case of Orissa’s most wanted criminal Sandip Acharya alias Raja who surrendered to Goa Police. Incidentally, Raja was wanted for over 35 murders in Orissa including the murder of high profile coach Biranchi Das.
Then was the case of Tariq Ahmed alias Battlo, the first terrorist to be arrested in Goa. The police claim of arresting him while he was alighting from a train at Margao was full of loopholes and though RDX, hand grenades and detonators were found on Battlo, the sloppy investigations resulted in he being acquitted by the trial court and Battlo conveniently fled Goa before an appeal could be filed and is till date untraceable.
Battlo lived in Sirvodem, a muslim dominated area of Margao for four months before he was arrested. And a former councilor of Margao Municipal Council Zarina Shah identified him as a person of good character while swearing an affidavit. For the four months that he lived in Goa, nobody, including the police knew about his links with the militant organization Tahreek ul Mujahideen.
Last year, in the month of May, police arrested some migrants living in Bhoma a village in Ponda taluka. Amongst those arrested was Shambu Beck of the Mauvadi Trishu Manch, a naxalite organization active in Orissa. Beck not only lived in Goa but also worked here and nobody bothered to check his antecedents even though police are supposed to compile data based on the Strangers List to be submitted by landlords who keep migrants as their tenants. Beck was arrested following a tip off by Orissa police
And this year was the dramatic arrest of four Manipur based militants living in Cansaulim for nearly three months without anybody being aware of their background and activities. Here too, the arrest came after a tip off from Manipur police.
The question is whether our police are really up to the task of identifying such terrorists and criminals given the fact that Goa is put on high alert for terrorist attack every year when the tourism season starts in October-November?