Fri, 12 Mar 2010 17:10:19 GMT

Nudity banned. Goa vague on 'topless bathing'

Panaji: Nudity might be prohibited on Goan beaches, but the state tourism department is ambiguous about "topless bathing" on the beaches of Goa.

"If in doubt, take local advice, especially with regard to topless bathing," the Goa tourism department said in a recently published booklet of 'do's and don't' for tourists visiting the state.

"While the Goan attitude to informal European styles of dress is generally tolerant, local religious or other sensibilities should be borne in mind," states the booklet, which was issued Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, Tourism Director Swapnil Naik said the booklet was being distributed free of cost to tourists.

"We are educating people through the booklet. The booklet is published in English and Russian. It will also be published in German soon," Naik said.

"Topless bathing" is popular with European tourists, especially women looking for a sun tan. They lie topless along the popular beach villages like Candolim, Morjim, Arambol, Palolem and other places all along Goa's sunny coast.

In December last year, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said the foreign tourists in Goa needed to observe a dress code of some sort.

Kamat, a Congress chief minister, was responding to questions from the media, immediately after a 25-year-old Russian woman was raped by local Goan politician John Fernandes, who is reportedly close to Kamat's cabinet colleague Churchill Alemao.

Last month, state Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) president Laxmikant Parsenkar also suggested that Goa should have a "minimum dress code" for foreign tourists visiting the state.

Congress MP Shantaram Naik, whose comments on rape created a furore in winter session of parliament, said the foreigners parading themselves half naked in coastal villages were a corrupting influence on the school-going children.

The British embassy has already issued a travel advisory in February to its nationals visiting India asking them to "observe and respect local dress and customs".

Nearly 2.4 million tourists visit Goa annually, of which nearly half-a-million are foreigners.

Source: IANS

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