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Five women in UK fight for justice for their kin they have lost in Goa over the years

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A beach in Goa, Pixabay

Panaji, March 22, 2017: Even as a debate rages in Goa over the safety of foreign tourists, especially after the rape and murder of Irish tourist Danielle McLaughin, five women met over coffee in Glouchestershire county in the UK to fight for justice for their kin they have lost in the Indian state over the years.

Among those present at the Boston Tea Party cafe in Cheltenham on Sunday were Fiona Mackeown, who has been battling a reluctant Indian justice system after her teenaged daughter Scarlett Keeling was killed in 2008, Amanda Bennett, who lost her brother Stephen in mysterious circumstances in 2006, Minna Pirhonen, who lost her son Felix Dahl in 2015, and Maureen Sweeney, sister of Denyse Sweeney who also died in Goa in 2010. A fifth woman was also present.

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According to Mackeown, apart from writing a letter to the Indian and UK Prime Ministers, the group is in the process of using the social media platforms to create awareness about the perils of Goa as a tourism destination.

“We all agreed to share and spread our stories in any way we can to raise awareness that it is dangerous to go to Goa, and of how many people have actually died under suspicious circumstances. We will lobby tourism companies to put pressure on them to advise tourists to go elsewhere,” Mackeown told IANS on Wednesday.

Mackeown’s daughter Scarlett was drugged, sexually assaulted and left to die on north Goa’s Anjuna beach in 2008. Two beach shack workers, who were arrested in connection with the crime, were acquitted by a trial court last year. The case is now in appeal before the Panaji Bench of the Bombay High Court.

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Bennett told IANS that the statistics of foreign tourists dying in Goa were alarming and the authenticity of the investigation process in the coastal state were dubious.

“The modus operandi is very predictable. The lack of investigation and blaming the victim to mitigate these murders is the status quo. All victims are deliberately maligned when the family asks questions. We are all aware that these crimes are organised and the police facilitate criminals as long as bribes are paid before the murder,” she claimed.

Her sister Denyse was found drugged and dead in Anjuna, even as the post mortem ruled out foul-play blaming overdose for the death.

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Sanna Cutter claims that instead of demanding justice as individual families, coming together as a group and connecting with more kin, who have victims slain in Goa, could be fruitful.

“The families will be going forward as a group now. We are connecting with more families of victims worldwide. So far no one has been prosecuted for the crimes. Instead all the killers are still walking free,” she told IANS.

Cutter also said that the non-committal expatriate community in Goa, many of whom are involved in tourism-related business, should take a stand on these ‘mystery’ deaths.

“We truly hope they have the same interests in their (expats) hearts as we do. This time around the approach ‘love and light’ won’t be enough. If they do not take action or demand anything to be done about this sad situation taking place in Goa, then that can be taken as agreeing with the corrupt system,” she said.

“That would also make them as corrupt as the place where they have made their homes and opened their businesses,” she added.

One of the most popular beach tourism destinations in India, Goa attracts nearly four million tourists every year, half a million being foreigners. Over the years, the state has also been under spotlight for crimes against tourists as well as easy availability of drugs and narcotics substances. (IANS)

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Goa Can Be Transformed Into The City Of Venice

The development of its intricate network of inland waterways has the potential to transform Goa. in to Venice of East

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Calvim Ferry in Goa. Goa can be
Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting. Wikimedia Commons

Panaji, November 21,2017:

Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting, suggests Rajiv Somani, chairman and managing director of Drishti Marine, promoter of the state’s first private ferry service.

Somani, whose agency also operates a private lifeguard service along Goa’s coastline, said that the ferry service also adds to the range of offerings, in terms of “things to do” in Goa.

“The only model really close to this is the one in Venice where one can travel through waterways all the time,” Somani told IANS in an interview.

“The ferry service is more of a leisure experience. The picturesque ferry service adds to the range of offerings in terms of things to do in Goa for the hundreds and thousands of tourists who visit the state. Additionally, it also acts as a premium transit service for tourists and local residents.

“We are only targeting less than five percent of the population arriving at the airport. We understand that there are people willing to pay the fee for the trip,” he said, adding that the service would begin later this month when the tourism season begins to peak in the coastal state.

The daily ferry service will function with the help of two 40-seater, high-speed catamarans, which will ferry commuters between designated pick-up points like the state capital Panaji, heritage centres like Old Goa, beaches like Baga, Aguada and Sinquerim and the Dabolim airport.

The Airport Ferry Terminal is located at Baina beach, Vasco da Gama, and is approximately five kilometres from the Goa airport in Dabolim. A free shuttle service will be available between the ferry terminal and the airport for the convenience of passengers arriving at the airport.

Fares for the ferry service range from Rs 100 for a ride between Old Goa and Panaji to Rs 800 for a trip between the Airport Ferry Terminal (AFT) at Baina and Panaji.

The ferry will operate from 22 temporary jetties spread across the state, including tourism vantage points.”

In Phase 1 and 2 we are looking at a mix of about 22 jetties. Of these, 11 are existing jetties and 11 will be floating jetties which will be constructed by us. The present government jetties exist at Panaji, Old Goa, Chapora and Sinquerim, among other places,” he said.

Asked if the service would be competing with the state’s aggressive taxi lobby, which has been combative vis-a-vis introduction of alternative modes of mass transport, Somani said: “We are not competing with the taxi operators. One thing we were always clear about: We will not do anything which is competition to the local community”.

Somani also said that ferry services had immense potential in Goa, which is crisscrossed with waterways.

“Goa has an excellent network of waterways; what’s needed is the right kind of infrastructure. One doesn’t need to erect concrete jetties everywhere; a floating jetty like the one we are currently building in Baina works just as effectively,” he said, adding that the ferry would help better water-related experiences for visitors. (IANS)

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Film Stars step out for a Friendly Cricket Match to Raise Awareness and Funds for Cancer Patients

Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing

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Rajneesh Duggal was part of the crew who played the friendly match. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 22, 2017 : Film celebrities like Rajneesh Duggall, Zayed Khan and Saqib Saleem stepped out for a friendly cricket match to create awareness and raise funds for cancer patients.

They played as part of the Ink Cricket Blast 2017 here on Saturday.

The cause is close to Rajneesh’s heart as someone in his family is suffering from cancer.

“This is a great initiative and I am always up for a social issue. This is something which is very close to my heart. Someone in my life has been suffering from it and cancer is something I’ve always personally associated with and I feel whatever I can do from my side, I must do,” he said.

“Fukrey” fame actor Varun didn’t participate in the game, but he was there to show support.

“There is always a connection with a social cause. If you combine sports with a social cause, there is nothing better than that! Cricket is something everyone plays since childhood in India. It is the biggest sport in India and to mix it with a social cause is the best thing,” he said.

Saqib said “it’s a great cause and cricket is religion in India”.

The actor is currently finishing a film with Taapsee Pannu. It’s tentatively called “Makhna”, which will come out early next year. (IANS)

 

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International Girl Child Day: Celebrating Birth of a Girl Child

International Girls day is celebrated every year on 11th October in order to give the girl child the respect and dignity she deserves.

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International Girl Child Day
On this International Girl Child Day, let’s be a part of a world which celebrates the girl child and let’s do our bit in making the world a better place. Maxpixel

International Girl Child Day has been declared by the United Nations on the 11th October every year in order to celebrate the importance of the girl child. On the occasion of International Girl Child Day, let’s help to spread awareness about the various problems faced by the girl child.

Perception 

The common perception of any society, sees girls are often considered to be inferior to boys. Discrimination against girls is unchecked, Due to fear of exploitation, they are not sent to schools and denied the right to a decent education.

Due to fear of exploitation parents do not send girl child to schools. Pixabay

Female Foeticide

Female Foeticide is an issue which is prevalent in the urban and mostly in the rural areas. People who are ill-informed believe that a girl child is inferior to a boy and thus will not be able to help the family in any way other than increasing the burden of feeding another mouth on them.

Save a Girl Child and protect a woman’s Dignity.

 

Child Marriage

Child marriage is another important issue because of which girls are forced to drop out from their education at a very early age.  India has the highest number of girls forced into marriage under the legal age of 18 accounting for 10 million child brides in the world.

It accounts for more than 70000 deaths each year relating to maternal deaths from pregnancy and childbirth. They also become victims of domestic abuse and the dowry system.

In some parts of the country, family marries off the girl in early age in order to save their economic burden. The reason for child marriage being so prevalent even today lies in the dowry system practised by a large portion of the educated lot.

A 16-year-old girl stands inside a protection home on the outskirts of New Delhi, Nov. 9, 2012. She was rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), a charity which rescues victims of bonded labor. voa

Girl Child Health

In the rural areas, the health facilities are not very developed. If there is a choice between the girl and boy, most of the people will make sure that the boy remains healthy in the hope of him supporting the family in future. Health facilities are the basic amenities of life and are meant to be used by everybody equally. In India, several girl children die of malnutrition and diseases before the age of 6.  Higher rates of child marriage lead to maternity deaths arising from complications in pregnancy and giving birth and it also increases the chances of the stillborn infant.

Girl Child Trafficking

Girl child trafficking is the defined as the trade any girl child under the age of 18 for the purpose of exploitation whether inside or outside the country.  According to the National Crime Record Bureau, one child disappears in every eight minutes. Mostly these children are underage girls. They are taken from their homes and sold in the market for the purpose of begging, labor, and sexual exploitation.  Sometimes it is their own family members who sell them for the need of money or just because they think she is a burden.

Child Marriage
According to the National Crime Record Bureau, one child disappears in every eight minutes. Wikimedia

On this International Girl Child Day, let us be a part of a world which celebrates the girl child and do our bit in making the world a better place.  A very much needed change in the society is the change in the attitude of the people. They should understand the fact that girls are equal to boys in all aspects and should be given equal respect and liberty.

The childhood of a girl can be preserved if we as a society come together and make sure she is nurtured, cherished, protected and should be given freedom to choose her life the way she wants to live.

(The facts were first published by CRY ).