By Muhammad Luqman
After ethnic and religious minorities, foreign tourists are new target of attacks in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh as a Swiss tourist has been left with a fractured skull after he and his girlfriend were attacked near the Taj Mahal during a holiday.
A group of men approached the couple near a local railway station and demanded selfies with the woman before attacking them with stones. the Times of India daily reported.
It said the man suffered a fractured skull while his girlfriend, a 24-year-old Swiss national, had a broken arm and multiple bruises.
Bystanders took videos of the couple on their mobile phones as they lay on the ground after the attack, the paper reported.
The motive for the attack was not clear, but levels of sexual violence are relatively high in India and many Western countries warn visitors of the risk of attacks.
The Swiss embassy website warns tourists of high levels of crime in India, particularly in popular tourists spots such as Agra, where the country’s most famous monument is located.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had sought a report from the state government of Uttar Pradesh over the latest attack and would send representatives to visit the Swiss couple in hospital.
Some social media users criticised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for failing to provide security to tourists.
They believe that the incident was a blow to India’s hopes of drawing more tourists to the country, which had just 8.8 million foreign visitors last year according to official data.
On Thursday, according to Indian media, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited Taj Mahal, which has been described variously by Bharatiya Janata Party loudmouths as a “blot” and as “Tejo Mahalay”. But the lustre of his visit, the first by a BJP chief minister of the state, was lost due to the brutal assault on a tourist couple from Switzerland’s Lausanne.
By Muhammad Luqman