On an average, one foreign tourist died per week over the last three years in Goa. Of the 161 deaths, the cause of death in 53 cases is not known as the histopathology examination and chemical analysis report of the victim's viscera has not yet been received.
While 25 foreigners drowned, 16 of them died following motor vehicle accidents and 15 due to natural cause while holidaying in the state. However, a majority of them have died due to drug overdose, it is alleged. Japanese tourist Kiego Yshiki is suspected to have died due to injection of plant origin narcotic substance in 2008. This was revealed on Thursday by home minister Ravi Naik in a written reply to a question by opposition leader Manohar Parrikar regarding deaths of foreigners in the state.
The delay in verifying the cause of death is mainly because Goa does not have its own forensic laboratory and is dependent on the central forensic sciences laboratories in Hyderabad and Mumbai and now Surat for analysis.
Of the 53 cases in which viscera analysis reports are pending, 29 are of Britons, 12 of Russians, 3 of Germans, besides persons of other nationalities.
Naik's written reply, however, states that the number of foreigners' deaths linked to drugs, directly or indirectly, in the last three years as only one, that too in 2008.
Apparently, doubting the veracity of that figure, Parrikar said that in almost 60% of the foreigners' deaths, their viscera has been sent for chemical analysis because they are suspected to have died from drug overdose or related complications.
Seeking to highlight the gravity of the drugs problem in Goa, Parrikar urged the home minister to address the issue seriously.
Naik replied saying, "We will seriously look into the issue." According to statistics furnished by Naik, 42 foreigners died in Goa in 2008, 65 in 2009 and 54 in 2010. In all three years, the highest number of foreigners died in Calangute, which recorded 45 deaths.
Anjuna came second with 32 deaths. Some other places where foreigners died are Pernem (19), Colva (18) and Canacona (17).
British tourists lead the list with 62 of them dying in the state from 2008 to 2010, followed by 27 Russians, 16 Nepalis and 10 Germans. The others are from various other countries. Of the 161 tourists who died in the state in the last three years, 126 are male and 35 female.