Going to India? Bring a bodyguard
A growing number of Indians and tourists visiting the country are hiring bodyguards for protection after a series of violent attacks.
A growing number of Indians and tourists visiting the country are hiring bodyguards for protection after a series of violent attacks. Security agencies say business is booming as western visitors and local business people join celebrities and the super-rich in acquiring greater security.
“We get a lot of calls for personal security officers, often at 2 or 3am, from western business executives or people from west Asia,” said Anubhav Khiwani, co-owner of Denetim Services, a newly established company in Delhi. “Once or twice a month a single woman or a holidaying family will also ask for a bodyguard.”
Until now these bodyguards were mainly seen accompanying international celebrities. Last year three of Oprah Winfrey’s escorts made news when they were picked up by police near Delhi for attacking photographers.
“The gang-rape of a physiotherapist in Delhi last December impacted the psyche of people across the world. A friend from Brazil, for instance, had to cancel her trip to India as her mother wouldn’t let her go. So now we see two kinds of tourists, especially among women − those who feel that such things happen everywhere and don’t worry about it, and those who are scared and want to avoid trouble,” said Khiwani.
Shaleni Nigam, a 44-year-old Canadian tax accountant, used to feel safe travelling alone in India, but plans to hire a bodyguard for her next visit.
“What’s worrying is that attacks on women seem to be taking place in routine situations − in a bus, in a hotel room, near a village,” she said. “I know such attacks occur in other countries too, but it’s a different world in India today than it was in the 1990s. A foreign visitor wasn’t targeted in the same way.”