Five taken into custody for assault on Swiss tourists near Agra
Agra: One of the two Swiss tourists attacked and badly injured near Agra four days ago was discharged from Delhi's Apollo Hospital on Thursday even as five persons, including three minors, were taken into custody for the crime. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who visited Agra, promised better security for tourists.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said while Marie Droz had been discharged from the hospital, her male friend Quentin Jeremy Clerc's condition was improving. The Swiss embassy in New Delhi confirmed the October 22 attack and said it was providing them consular services.
The ugly attack took place when the young couple was walking alongside a train track in Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. Clerc was left with a fractured skull and several bruises.
Senior Superintendent of Police Agra, Amit Pathak, said late on Thursday evening that five persons, including three minors, have been taken into custody for the crime.
Sushma Swaraj sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the assault. Minister of State for Tourism K.J. Alphons expressed deep concern.
"You would kindly appreciate that such incidents negatively impact our image and are detrimental to our efforts in promoting India as a tourism destination," Alphons told the Chief Minister in a letter.
He said a "fast and speedy response in identifying and ensuring speedy action including conviction of the guilty would be reassuring" and would send a "good message of our efforts to prevent recurrence of such incidents".
Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh's Additional Director General of Police Chandra Prakash said one person was arrested from the Agra-Rajasthan border. He declined to reveal the identity of the arrested person.
Police took the Swiss couple to a private hospital in Agra where first aid was given. The couple refused to lodge an FIR and said they would take further treatment at Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.
But police lodged a complaint on their own, Prakash said. "We are trying to arrest all the four persons involved in the incident."
Adityanath said in Agra that arrests were being made and a thorough inquiry would be held.
He said touts and anti-social elements who bring a bad name to Agra and the country would be firmly dealt with. Providing security to tourists would be a top priority, he added.
Meanwhile, CPI-M leader Brinda Karat wrote to the Swiss envoy in India expressing "strong protest" over the "failure" of the authorities to provide minimum security to tourists in a wider area that houses the Taj Mahal, India's biggest tourists draw.
"As a citizen of India, I am writing to you to express my deep regret at the shocking and horrifying violence that two young Swiss nationals ... had to face on their trip to Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.
"It is shameful for us as Indians that two young tourists who had gone to visit the beautiful symbol of love should have to face this horror. Please convey our very best wishes for their speedy recovery," she said.
In Fatehpur Sikri area, there have been numerous such incidents targeting innocent tourists, but police have not stepped up vigil, say tour guides.
Condemning the assault on the Swiss tourists, the Congress said the incident "unmasks the ugly face of Anti-Romeo Squads" in the state.
"This attack on the young foreign couple unmasks the ugly face of the Anti-Romeo squad in UP which is fully supported and patronized by the UP government. Rather than protecting tourists and residents of UP, the Chief Minister is working overtime to bring ‘acche din' for criminals and goons," Congress spokesman Jaiveer Shergill said.
--With IANS inputs