QUEEN’S ROAD: A group from Bengaluru visiting Germany was mugged in a public place, and has returned with stories about police indifference.
Returning from a trip to Cologne for Anuga Expo, the world’s biggest food processing fair, industrialists and entrepreneurs were robbed in broad daylight. Germany is facing an influx of immigrants from Syria and Iraq, and the Bengaluru team says law and order is not what it used to be. The group was accosted and robbed of passports, cash and valuables. They suspect the muggers to be from among the thousands of refugees.
R N Prasad, sales manager, Birla-Morton, travelled to Germany on October 9. He had no problems at Cologne but his experience turned bitter at Dusseldorf on the way back to India. “Neither the police nor the public came to my help when I lost my wallet, credit cards, passport and cash on October 14,” he told City Express.
Prasad was carrying $1,000, Rs 12,000 and 60 Euros. The muggers snatched his briefcase in full public view. “Nobody helped us, not even the 500 to 600 people in the subway. All this happened just 50 metres from a police station,” he said.
When the Indians requested help, police said it was the 10th such incident at the same place that day. Madhusudan, MD of Vishal Agro, said, “We were under the impression that Germany was a safe place. A driver told us muggings in public places had gone up lately.”
Prasad alleged that the police were unhelpful and their attitude bordered on racism. “They were rude and uncooperative. However, thanks to the Indian Embassy, I got an EC passport. The Indian authorities were courteous, helpful and gave me full confidence,” he said.
Ajit Rao, a media consultant who toured Germany for 11 days and visited eight cities, said the immigration situation was changing equations. “My wife and I never faced any problems, and the German people and officials were helpful. But with the influx of refugees, public places have become crowded,” he said. While travelling from Munich to Dresden, the couple found the train jam-packed. “Despite having reserved tickets, we could not find seats. I felt I was in India,” he said.
The couple sensed the local people, who feel there aren’t enough jobs going around, are resentful, and are apprehensive about the impact of immigration on the employment scene.
In another case, a city-based businessman was recently mugged at Dusseldorf and stranded there for three days.
A German diplomat said German officials are usually responsive to tourists’ complaints. The diplomat did not see any connection between tourists' trouble and the refugee situation.