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Goa Minister claims stalking by drug mafia

| | PANAJI

Stalking by Goa’s drug mafia has forced the State’s Fisheries Minister Vindo Palienkar, who has been vocal against drug trade and notorious rave parties in the tourism-friendly coastal belt to give up his morning walks on quiet beaches.

Palienkar in his complaint to Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma has alleged, that he is being stalked and has been delivered cautions by the drug mafia, who he claims is a powerful entity. “The Chief Secretary has said that he will look at upgrading my security,” Palienkar said, even as his comments have triggered a political storm in the State, which is known for its tourism and attracts more than six million tourists every year.

Palienkar dropped the virtual bombshell late on Tuesday when he told reporters that he had even given up on his habit of a morning walk on a nearby beach because of threats.

“People are following me. They seem to know exactly where I am going. I have even given up taking my morning walk on beaches. Now I go for a brisk walk on my home terrace,” Palienkar said.

Palienkar is a legislator from the Siolim assembly constituency, where beaches like Anjuna, Vagator, Chapora which are known as narco-tourism destinations are located. Ever since he was appointed minister earlier this year, Palienkar has been critical of rave parties, which are frequented by thousands of youngsters and where proliferation of drugs is common.

Palienkar has also expressed his opposition to electronic dance music festivals, which are held in his constituency, claiming drugs are sold at the venue.

Over the years, several youngsters have died of drug overdose while partying at the EDM events which Goa is now synonymous with.

The Goa Police over the last one month has been cracking down on drug peddlers after two youngsters died in two separate incidents due to suspected drug overdose.

Palienkar claims this should top immediately.

“This brings disrepute to Goa and puts the lives of youngsters at risk,” he said.

The minister’s comments however have given fodder to the opposition which is now attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led government of being unable to rein in anti-social elements.

 “If the government cannot protect its own minister, how will it protect the common man? The government as well as the law and order machinery is in shambles,” Congress spokesperson and MLA Aleixo Reginaldo told The Pioneer.

“The law and order situation in Goa has come to such a pass that a cabinet minister is now feeling insecure. The threat to his life, publicly expressed by Fisheries minister Vinod Palienkar is unprecedented in Goa and shocking,” spokesperson for the Aam Aadmi Party Ashley do Rosario also said.

 
 
 

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