GoaChronicle.com investigations into the alleged kidnapping of a 14-year old girl at Varca by eight Non-Goan tourists from Madhya Pradesh reveal some startling insights into the changing face of tourism in the state and how some tourists perceive Goa and Goan women. It also highlights a fine line between consent and force…
For the last two and half days since the incident occurred on Sunday afternoon, GoaChronicle.com team and informers have been gathering information through different sources who were present that day at Varca and Colva Police Station. Our sources are senior and junior police officers, witnesses at the Zalor Beach, Fatrade, relatives of the girl and a read through of the statements given to the police of the girl and the accused tourists. Since the matter is highly sensitive we would not reveal any identities of our informers.
Here are key facts to the case:
1. Eight tourists were from Indore, Madhya Pradesh and were staying at Valankani Guest House.
2. Four bikes where hired from a dealer near to the Guest House. Each bike had a rider and a pillion rider.
3. All eight boys were at a local bar near Benaulim junction where they consumed beers.
4. Four of the eight boys decided to go for a drive and head to a beach, while four others decided to leave the bar and head towards a nearby restaurant to grab some lunch.
5. Girl on route to her tuition class leaves early from home due to lack of frequency of the bus on a Sunday. Normally, mother accompanies girl to the bus-stop. On this day however, due chores at home, the mother allowed the girl to go alone to the bus-stop and go for her tuition classes
5. On two bikes four boys embarked on their drive. On route near the junction they spotted the 14-year old girl.
6. After sometime girl seen on bike in the rider’s seat and one boy sitting behind as pillion rider. On the other bike three boys follow the bike. (A part of the Police Investigation report according to witnesses testimony along the route)
Girls Version: Bike with two boys stopped asked for direction to the Varca Beach. Then asked her if she would be interested in being dropped anywhere. She did not say anything. Boy then forced her to sit on rider’s seat and take him to the nearest beach. With his three friends following behind on a bike.
Pillion Rider Boy Statement: We stopped for direction to the Varca Beach. Post that we asked the girl if she wanted to be dropped anywhere. She accepted. One boy got off the bike and moved to the second bike on triple seat. She wanted to ride the bike as she knew the directions, so I allowed her too.
7. Life-guards at Zalor Beach, Fatrade sees girl with one boy strolling on the beach and three boys around this boy and girl. (A part of the statement of one of the Life-Guards and GC teams interaction with the Life-Guards at Zalor).
8. It starts to rain, girl with boy and friends who have already go to Life-Guards hut on the beach. Girl knocks the door, says excuse me, request if she and boys could wait inside since its raining.
9. At Benaulim junction. Villagers who sees the girl on the bike with boy and three boys following on another bike. Knowing the boys are tourist, as a concerned citizen he raises an alarm. A group of villagers start to track-down other four boys who head to have lunch. Two boys are nabbed who were easily identifiable because of their weight, questioned and later on man-handled.
10. Two of the other boys manage to call their friends at the beach to inform them about their current predicament and whether they were responsible in anyway.
11. During the time the two boys called their friends at the beach the rain had subsided, and the girl and boys were leaving the hut. They were shocked and scared about the predicament of their friends. Meanwhile Goa police was alerted by one of the boys at beach. Goa Police told them that they were coming to pick them up but took time as the boys could not give directions of the beach. By this time they left the girl on the beach.
12. Police managed to get to the boys at beach. Also police reached the boys at the restaurant who were being man-handled by the concerned villagers, which was slowly turning to a mob.
Important Facets of Girl’s Statement:
1. Boy forced her on the bike to sit in the front and ride the bike to the nearest beach.
2. Boy smooched her and also bit her breasts while in the hut of the Lifeguard Hut at Zalor Beach at Fatrade.
3. She was scared therefore she agreed to go on the bike. And at that time of the afternoon where she was standing not many people around.
4. She went to the beach out of fear of the boys.
Sources in police reveal the following:
1. There appears to be consent. But because she is a minor, her consent cannot be considered consent.
2. If she was at Zalor Beach in the hut with other life-guards around. She could have raised an alarm with those men who are trained for such issues and could have protected her.
3. Girl states about force used on her, especially a bite on her chest. But she refused at first to go for a medical test, however later she was forced by the police to go for a medical at Hospicio.
While above we have mentioned key facts of the case. And since the matter now hinges on the version of the girl and the boys, it will boil down to consent or force. At this point of time, some locals in Benaulim, Colva and Varca are raising questions about the modesty of the young girl and even spreading rumors that she knew one of the boys. So much so that one of the junior police officers commented to a GoaChronicle.com team member that “the girl is of a loose character that’s why her mother came to drop her everyday at the bus-stop”.
GoaChronicle.com questions on this entire episode are as follows;
1. While it is normal for a tourist to ask for direction. Would it be considered normal for a tourist who already has a pillion-rider on his bike, to offer a lift to a girl, thereby making his friend to go triple seat on another bike. It is important to remember that the boys did have some beers.
2. Girl claims that she was forced on the bike and out of fear she sat in the riders seat. But boy statement says she consented. What would lead a 14-year old girl to consent to riding on the front seat of the bike? GoaChronicle.com has learnt that the boy in his statement states she asked for Rs 2000 to show them the beaches around this stretch.
But here is the interesting bit. This girl has always been accompanied by her mother to the bus-stop and sometimes to tuitions every time. Would she suddenly have decided to become a tour-guide for some money.
The truth is simple the girl is a minor, 14-years old. The boys were above the age of 21, tourists and also intoxicated. Offering a lift on the pretext of asking for directions in itself raises question on the intent of the boys especially when there is already a pillion rider.
At this point of time GoaChronicle.com has learnt that the eight boys will be applying for bail. Also the police will be registering an FIR against some of the agitators in the mob that they have identified.