Dawn Emelie Griggs, an Australian tourist was brutally murdered in the wee hours of the morning near Indira Gandhi International Airport on March 17th. The 59-year old was murdered by a taxi driver. This dreadful incident comes close on the heels of several crimes committed against foreigners. What has shocked most people is the fact Ms Griggs took a prepaid taxi with a computerised voucher. There was absolutely no way that Jyotish Prashad, the taxi driver would have ever gotten away with this murder.
Ms Griggs who was an author, teacher and globetrotter was an inspiration to adults in Australia, where she established the Accelerative Learning Association in New South Wales. The only good news is that the murderer has been arrested. Unfortunately the culprits of several crimes against foreigners haven’t been caught yet.
On March 11th, a Japanese tourist was cheated of US$200 and one 1000 Indian Rupees. The tourist was taken to a “tourist information bureau” by a prepaid taxi driver, where she was robbed the owner of the bureau. On March 6th, a Fijian national was allegedly raped by the owner of a travel agency in South Delhi. Last October, a Swiss Diplomat was raped in her car after she watched a movie; the rapists are still at large.
Foreigners aren’t the only targets. There was a public outcry last year, when the President’s elite security guards raped 2 college students in Delhi’s Buddha Garden. In fact there are reported cases of rape or molestation almost everyday in Delhi’s newspapers. Add to this the fact that Delhi has the largest number of burglaries in India.
Delhi, which has been the seat of power in India since ancient times, has witnessed more than it’s fair share of bloodshed. In present-day Delhi, a large proportion of the 12 million inhabitants have some political connections or the other. It’s this confidence in the politicians that drives many Delhites to think that they can get away with anything, including murder.
A few years ago, a drunken youth in a BMW ran over pavement dwellers and was arrested. He however had the fortune of being the grandson of a former Vice-Admiral of the Indian Navy. He’s now enjoying his freedom and studying in the United States.
Aggression is a way of life in Delhi. Auto rickshaw drivers never use the meters and a fare has to be negotiated in advance. A process that involves raised voices and a prolonged amount of time. People rarely queue for anything in Delhi, where the golden rule is “might is right” Street-side fights are a common and daily occurrence.
The Government of India is promoting a nauseating “India-shining” campaign, aimed at the electorate. It’s only Delhi’s criminals who are enjoying the “feel-good factor.” India can only shine if its capital is free of this crime menace and is safe for everybody, locals, Indians and foreigners alike.