BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Goa has been in the news for the last two days after the scenes of violence that took place outside Hotel Spazio in Anjuna on March 5.
This untoward incident where people were injured has resulted in the tarnishing of the reputation of the tourism industry in Goa as well as that of the twelve-year-old hotel through a social media post of one Ashwin Kumar from New Delhi. There is also the imminent suspension of a police sub-inspector thrown into the mix.
Meetings with investigating officers, individuals in Anjuna who witnessed the incident and staff of the hotel indicate that there is much more than meets the eye in the video being circulated.
“The violence is seen being started by the complainant Ashwin Kumar who can be seen coming out of the hotel on March 5 and assaulting one Royston in front of hotel premises,” admits a member of the police who accessed the CCTV footage provided by the management of the hotel.
“The boy was dragged, and as he was being hit, locals watched. Soon a crowd formed, and they all went to help the boy. There was a rain of blows, and the guest who had come out of the hotel ran inside,” said a local, who works nearby and witnessed the incident outside, on condition of anonymity.
“No sir. Royston was constantly being abused by the particular guests, and at some stage he must have lost it and abused back. They did complain to the manager, and he was asked to go on leave,” stated a member of the hotel on condition of anonymity.
“Royston went to the hotel to collect his charger. He was standing outside the hotel to receive his charger when this customer came out abusing him and started hitting him. I hope Royston has filed a complaint for being assaulted,” explained an acquaintance of Royston, who claimed he was not present but overheard the incident.
It is evident from the video footage with the police that Royston is being dragged by Ashwin Kumar until he starts being questioned by a group and is immediately accosted by some individuals – many of whom can be heard speaking Konkani.
“The matter is being investigated by the Anjuna police. I was not on duty that day and am instructed not to comment,” stated the manager of Hotel Spazio. “I can only assure you that no one from the hotel has been sacked,” added the manager.
“No hotel guest has the right to abuse any staff of the hotel. However, from the video footage, it appears that the guests were annoyed with the hotel staff and this Royston in particular because he constantly asked them to stop smoking the hookah around the swimming pool,” stated the officer investigating.
“From the records available with us, it is evident that the Kumar family was asked five times to stop smoking around the pool,” stated the police officer.
“My colleague was not sacked by the manager. He was clearly told to take a break till the guests left. The government should think of protecting us from abusive tourists instead of just trying to placate tourists,” confidentially suggested another member of the hotel.
It is wrong on the part of the tourists to say that they want other tourists to think twice before coming to Goa because it has been ascertained that the hotel refunded the full amount spent and even arranged for the ambulance and taxis to take the victims and their families to hospital,” informed another individual helping in investigating the matter.
“The hotel has produced evidence to that effect,” he added.
“Both the parties are at fault. The tourist first threw a stone at the accused after which they got furious and attacked the victims with knives. Tourists coming into Goa should not take the law into their hands. They should dial 100 and call the police,” stated Chief Minister Pramod Sawant to assuage the feelings of all during a press conference held this afternoon at the police headquarters in Panjim.