A Belgian woman who had come to India in December went back home less than 24 hours into her trip after allegedly being harassed by several people, the police said on Monday.
Upon returning to her country, the victim wrote to the Belgium Embassy, which further shared the complaint with the Ministry of External Affairs. A case has been registered and an investigation has started after the Ministry wrote to the Delhi Police.
In the complaint emailed to the Belgium Embassy, the woman wrote that she landed in Delhi on December 6 around 4 p.m. She bought a SIM card and reached “New Delhi [Railway Station]” from where she took an autorickshaw that took her to Minto Road.
The driver allegedly stopped in front of two men who showed her “cards of police” and told her that the area was cordoned off because of protests and that she cannot proceed further without permission from the tourist police. The two men gave her an address of a “police centre”. The autorickshaw dropped her off a few minutes later at a spot where there were six men in uniform.
They told her that the zone was inaccessible and that she should immediately leave New Delhi, the victim wrote in her email.
Shown videos, conned
The victim was allegedly shown videos of “violent protests” and was told that it was happening live. “He [one of the men in uniform] also asked me whether my jewellery was made of gold and then told me that I must remove them immediately as it would cut my fingers,” she wrote. The men then offered to call the hotel she had booked. She was allegedly conned into believing that her booking was cancelled.
In her complaint, she said that the men made the call and from the other side of the phone line, she was informed that her booking had been cancelled.
The men suggested she go to central Delhi and directed her towards an autorickshaw, which was waiting outside the “police centre”.
The driver took her to a travel agency in NDMC market where she was received by two men. They allegedly made the woman talk to a few people over the phone for hotel booking.
“They could sense I am overwhelmed by the situation. I started to worry and was tired after wandering for five hours. They offered me a few hotels, which I said no to because they were expensive. Exhausted, I said yes to the one that suit me. I paid $40 cash [sic],” she wrote.
She was then allegedly taken in a cab with a male driver and two women who dropped her at a hotel after she demanded a quick drop.
“The driver spoke to the receptionist and I was taken to the third floor in a room with no windows. They told me there was no internet connection. I locked myself in the room. Several times, someone knocked at the door [sic],” she wrote.
By then, her SIM card had been activated after which she contacted an acquaintance in Rishikesh and narrated the ordeal. The acquaintance then called the hotel where the woman had made the booking earlier and was informed that her room was reserved and not cancelled. A staffer of the hotel where the victim had made the booking earlier, came and took her there.
“I took the first plane the next morning, totally shocked by what had just happened to me,” she stated.
In the complaint to the police, the Ministry wrote that the woman was harassed by several people including an autorickshaw driver, a travel agency, a hotel as well as fake police forces. “Such incidents bring disrepute to the Indians thereby discouraging tourists to visit India,” the complaint stated.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma said, “Based on the complaint, a case under relevant sections of Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourist Act and cheating has been registered on Saturday. The victim is being contacted.” The police are also looking into the places mentioned by the victim in her complaint.