Shailesh Kumar, an official from Ministry of Tourism, said, “The incidents of women assault are shameful and worrying the country, but the reports that tourists are shunning India are baseless. Yes, tourist safety is matter of concern but these cases of assault have not driven away the tourists.”When we talked to some foreign tourists, we got a mix response from them. “It’s disgusting. Women travellers are not safe here. Police security should be tightened up even during nighttime,” a woman tourist from UK, Anneli, said, who is staying in Manali since Sunday. She was reacting on the incidence of gang rape with an American tourist in Manali.In hill stations of India, it’s the beginning of foreign tourists’ season and hundreds of foreigners are already camping here. Most of the tourists are here for trekking, biking and jeep safari. The gangrape has sent shock waves among them, especially in women who are travelling alone.
Majority of tourists travelling Kullu are from UK, Israel, France, Italy and USA. The incident of rape is the issue that is being discussed by all tourists here. While most of them are demanding hard punishment to the culprits, there were few of them who believe the victim, who sought lift from a truck in midnight, should have been cautious about her safety. “How an alone single woman can ask for a hitch-hike at 3am from a truck in a strange country. Either she was supposed to be sleeping in her room or accompanied by her friends at that time,” another tourist from Spain, Patricia, said.