State Affairs

Jittery tourists wary of touts, guides

KOLKATA

The gang-rape of a Japanese researcher has sent shockwaves through Sudder Street — Kolkata’s budget hotel destination for foreigners.

Many tourists TOI spoke with said they were alarmed and would now prefer travelling in groups. Some said they wouldn’t trust local guides or aides who offer unsolicited help, reports Times of India.

“There’s reason to be more careful. I have had no problem so far but I am generally cautious,” said Robert Weir, an American writer now on his fourth visit to Kolkata. Weir and his companion decided to stay away from Park Street on New Year’s Eve. “We chose to be at Sudder Street and spent the evening at the Spanish Cafe. Park Street didn’t seem safe to us at all. What has happened is worrying,” said Weir.

Australian tourist Amber Miller said she and her acquaintances have often felt uncomfortable outside Sudder Street. “Here, it’s different because you have so many foreigners. But in other areas, the experience hasn’t always been pleasant. I have had men trying to grab or touch me. On a couple of occasions, I was chased by drunken men. It’s scary at times, though it hasn’t happened very often to me in Kolkata. But now I will definitely feel a tad more uncomfortable at Sudder Street, too,” said Miller.

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