Panaji, Oct 10 (IANS) The Goa police have started formal investigations into complaints of neglect against deceased British teenager Scarlett Keeling’s mother Fiona Mackeown.
Fiona, who has been campaigning for a fair probe into the controversial circumstances that led to her daughter’s death at Anjuna beach in February this year, is now facing charges of neglect filed by a local activist Aires Rodrigues, who heads Utt Goenkara, a local non government organisation (NGO).
Police Inspector in charge of the Anjuna police station Ramesh Gaonkar has stated the same in a written undertaking submitted to the Panaji Bench of the Bombay High Court.
The Anjuna police had been asked by a magistrate in a Goa court to probe the complaint filed under Section 8 (1) (2) and Section 8 (12) of the Goa Children’s Act 2003. The special act is armed with powers to penalize even parents if they are found to be neglecting their children.
Rodrigues had appealed to the high court after the Goa Children’s Court on Aug 11 disallowed the petition on grounds that as per Section 20 of the Children’s Act, cognizance of any offence under the Act could be taken only on a complaint filed by the child, her parents, guardians, close relatives, police or a competent authority under the act.
Rodrigues in his petition had alleged that Fiona’s act of leaving her minor daughter with a stranger in Anjuna, while she was holidaying in Gokarna with the rest of her family was in violation of the Section 8 (1) (2) and Section 8 (12) of the Goa Children’s Act 2003. The death of Scarlett Keeling earlier this year continues to haunt this tourist state, even as it prepares for a fresh tourist season ahead.
This time around, Goa is already battling a flagging tourist inflow, thanks to adverse travel advisories circulated by Australia and Canada vis a vis India.
This week also saw a 65-year-old Australian die of internal bleeding after he was injured in an altercation with a few waiters at Calangute, Goa’s most popular coastal tourism hub.