Tuesday, March 19, 2013

India: Update--British Tourist, 31, Fractures Both Legs After Jumping from Hotel Balcony to Escape Assailant

According to The London Evening Standard, and my previous posting earlier today (March 19), the 31-year-old British tourist who was forced to jump from her guest room balcony to escape the hotel manager, who forced his way into her room, fractured both legs as well as sustaining a head injury.

The victim, reportedly a London dentist, arrived in Agra two days earlier and was staying at the Agra Mahal hotel in the Rakabganj area of the city.  

Initially, the manger, thought to be intoxicated,  offered the young woman a “free oil massage” during the early morning hours, saying it was the hotel’s tradition to provide such a service.

After being rebuffed, he returned 40 minutes later with a second man, causing her to leap from her window to the floor below, and then on to the ground. The injured woman then took a rickshaw to a nearby police station.

COMMENT: The hotel owner, Sachin Chauhan, said her claims were “baseless’ and told officers he had intended to wake her as she had requested a wake-up call at 0400 hours for an early morning train, which is why he returned to her room with a security guard.  

Assuredly, in this day and age, hotels in India can surely do better than having male employees personally wake-up single female guests, particularly if using a pass key.

Fortunately, at the moment, the injured victim at the Agra Mahal has been relocated to another hotel and is under police protection. Her plan is cut her trip to India short and return promptly to the UK, understandably.

According to Police Deputy Superintendent Simranjit Kaur, local officials may now cancel the license of the Agra Mahal.

The Foreign Office said it was “urgently” investigating the reports and has updated its advice for women visiting India, saying they should use caution and avoid traveling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night.

Until such time as the Government of India is able to assure foreign women of their safety while in the country, SOLO travel by foreign women may well  be considered high-risk, given a series of incidents in recent months.