When the Indian police conducts an investigation under the glare of the media, it is only a matter of time before the cracks and the corruption are laid bare. To that extent, their probe into the rape and murder of a 15-year old British tourist is following a familiar script. The police's ineptitude and insensitivity were on full display when Scarlett Keeling’s dead body turned up on a beach in Goa. It was quickly dismissed as a case of drowning. Only when Scarlett’s mother Fiona MacKeown insisted on a second autopsy did the Goa police suddenly regain their vision to see that her body was actually covered all over with nearly 50 cuts and bruises. And incidentally, there was not enough salt water in her lungs either to corroborate the drowning story.
In the sordid history of failures of the Indian police, this is only the latest chapter.
But throwing an element of lunacy into the bungled probe is the Chief Minister of Goa Digamber Kamat. He wants to investigate the teenager’s mother for negligence!
In the days leading up to her murder, Scarlett was not with her family and was staying with 25-year old tour guide, Julio Lobo. The story gets a little strange here because Scarlett was allegedly in a sexual relationship with this man whom her mother describes as “very caring” as an uncle would be. You could argue that it was foolish of her mother to leave her teenage daughter alone but it was certainly not illegal if she thought the person she was leaving her with was responsible! In fact, this notion of charging the mother for negligence can be turned on its head because assuming Julio Lobo had had sex with Scarlett Keeling it would still be rape under Indian law because it involved a minor. Then Samson D'Souza, the current suspect under police custody could either be the wrong guy as the Keeling family alleges or is simply one of the suspects.
Someone needs to point that out to Digamber Kamat.
I also think this is typical of the sexist insinuations that fly in rape investigations. By wanting to investigate the mother, the Chief Minister is placing the onus on the victim’s family to prove that the girl wasn’t asking to be raped, insinuating, in other words, that it was but natural that she was raped because she was alone.
Shame on you Digamber Kamat.
If Fiona MacKeown intends to fight to the finish and teach Kamat and the police a few lessons she will have the support of millions of Indian women like me.