Local people attribute attacks on tourists to illegal liquor sale, even as the Police Department is short-staffed

Following the assault on a group of Bangalore-based students at the Kanakapura bus-stand on Wednesday night, the Ramanagaram and Mandya district police plan to increase safety measures at tourist spots on the banks of the Cauvery.

A group of miscreants allegedly humiliated two girls and their friends who were returning from Muthathi on Wednesday night. The incident took place in full public view.

Vulnerable

Kanakapura is surrounded by picnic spots such as Muthathi, Bheemeshwari and Galibore fishing camps, Mekedatu, Shimsha, Sangam and Chunchalli Falls. Tourists from different parts of the State, majority of them north Indians from Bangalore, visit these places often. According to officials of the Department of Tourism, at least 15,000 tourists visit these places during weekends.

Tourists are in danger of being harassed or molested because the Police Department is short-staffed, an officer attached to the Tourism Department who visited Kanakapura on Friday, said.

At least 3,000 tourists from different parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and from north India visit these spots every week, the officer said.

In the light of the incident at Kanakapura, the Ramanagaram and Mandya police have decided to intensify patrolling in the area.

“We will discuss the issue (of ensuring safety of tourists) with the Ramanagaram police,” Mandya Superintendent of Police Koushalendra Kumar told The Hindu here on Friday.

The Mandya police have intensified patrolling in the vicinity of Muthathi and are contemplating setting up check-posts to keep an eye on suspicious characters, Mr. Kumar said. Ramanagaram Superintendent of Police Anupam Agarwal emphasised the need for stringent measures to avert such incidents. “Road rage triggered Wednesday night’s incident. We will discuss the issue of assault on tourists who visited Kanakapura and its surroundings with the authorities concerned,” Mr. Agarwal told The Hindu.

The local people attribute such incidents to the illegal sale of liquor. Illegal sale of liquor at most hotels and petty shops at Muthathi, Mekedatu, Chincholli falls and Sangama is rampant, K. Jagadish, a resident of Kanakapura, who claimed to have witnessed Wednesday night’s incident, said.

Incidents of tourists being robbed, molested or assaulted are common at Muthathi and Mekedatu.

A majority of the miscreants are under the influence of alcohol, another tourist, an IT employee who is from Ernakulam, said. A senior officer at Ramanagaram said he would discuss the matter with the officials concerned of the Excise Department and request them to hold special drive against the illegal liquor selling racket.

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