PANAJI – Russians tourists who come to Goa have “all kinds of vices”, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state unit chief Laxmikant Parsenkar Sunday said, calling on the local people not to “encourage them too much”.
Parsenkar, legislator from the coastal constituency of Mandrem, was speaking at a gram sabha (village council) meeting at the Morjim village panchayat Sunday, where irate villagers have demanded Russian nationals be banned from carrying out tourism-related businesses.
“These Russians have all kinds of vices and the moment you have Russian tourists coming to one place, all other tourists flee from there. It is not a good thing for the people of Morjim. Even earlier we had tourists from other countries, but we never had this problem,” Parsenkar said.
Morjim, a relatively new beach tourism spot, 25 km from Panaji, has for long been a favourite haunt of the Russian tourists, who throng the coastal village in large numbers every tourism season.
While villagers have constantly complained of the “over bearing” and “rude” nature of the Russian tourists, the recent murder of a local taxi driver Rohidas Shetgaonkar by a Russian restaurateur Constantine Alexander Borowski has turned the local population against them.
Parsenkar said that the volume of Russian tourists in the state had triggered a virtual cultural invasion in Morjim and surrounding areas and that because of their sheer numbers, the Russians were indulging in “dadagiri” (bullying).
“We should not encourage them (Russian tourists) too much. We should not become helpless before them,” he said, adding the village panchayat authorities must crack the whip against illegally run Russian establishments and Russian sign boards and hoardings in its jurisdiction.
Goa has, over the years, emerged as a popular tourism destination for Russian tourists. With nearly more than 40,000 Russian tourists hitting the sunny Goan beaches annually over the last two years, Russia ranks a close second after Britain vis a vis the volume of foreign tourists arrivals in the state.
This increase in volume, however, has also corresponded with some highly sensational crimes in which Russian citizens were involved.
The rape of a nine-year-old Russian girl Jan 26 triggered a nationwide media debate on the safety of women tourists in Goa. The union tourism ministry even had to shoot off a letter to the state government seeking details on the issue of safety of tourists in the state.
Earlier, a 25-year-old Russian woman was allegedly raped by a Goan politician in December last year.
Police have also been unable to crack the mysterious death of Russian teenager Elena Sukhonova, whose mangled body was found on the railway tracks near Thivim, 25 km from Panaji, in May last year.
Goa receives nearly two million tourists annually, nearly half a million of which are foreigners.