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Austrian tourist's vehicle attacked in Jorhat

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  24 Oct 2015 12:00 AM GMT

FROM A Correspondent

JORHAT, Oct 23: Having travelled more than 40,500 km on road while crossing over 18 countries in their cross country ride which is likely to culmite in Thailand, the Austrian couple Dr. Brand Steter Warner (52) and wife Susanne Regi (53) had a taste of Assamese hospitality after a gang of four pelted bricks on the right hand side front windshield of the otherwise left hand drive specially designed Mercedes Benz caravan vehicle at Kokilamukh after the duo has parked the vehicle by the Brahmaputra riverside near the Shanti Aashram and decided to retire for the night. The incident happened on the night of October 20 amidst Durga Puja celebration.

The terrified couple had to soon flee from the origil camp site and take refuge in the home of one Tasimul Hauque Neog in Baligaon who after providing them shelter informed the Superintendent of Police Amanjeet Kaur about the incident. The SP who was quick in response immediately sent TSI Dibyajyoti Dutta to bring them back safely to the town and a decision was taken to lodge the couple at the Jorhat Circuit House but the couple declined the offer and decided to stay on the vehicle.

Next day on 21 October, in a direct conversation with The Sentinel, Dr. Brand Steter Warner said,” We are from Siebensterngasse in Austria, a few hundred kilometers away from Capital Vien. I and my wife Susanne (Susi) Regi glwitz together had been travelling from Austria to Thailand. We started 165 days ago from Austria and travelling through Iran, Russia, Mongolia, Chi and to Nepal and now we are in India and from here to Myanmar via Moreh in Manipur and filly into Thailand. That fateful day we were a little tired in the afternoon and took rest in a very quiet place outside of the city here in Jorhat. And because this place was very peaceful, we decided to stay there overnight. And we were already sleeping and it was about half past nine when someone knocked in our car”.

“I said ‘one moment’ and put on my trousers and opened the door. There were four young men. They did not understand my language. Neither did I understand their language. I offered maste but the young men looked very angry and were drunk. They wanted to come inside the vehicle. I allowed only one. Probably they wanted to have a peek of the vehicle. Then suddenly one of them throw two big stones in the front window and they ran away. We decided to leave the place immediately and ask for help. The house where we sought refuge was very kind and they called the police who filly brought us here. India is a great country and the people are very lively and kind. It is an unfortute incident that happened. We don’t blame the entire country for it and we are hopeful of coming back once again to this place in our next trip”, said Dr. Wener.

Meanwhile the Superintendent of Police Amanjeet Kaur called for a press conference to brief about the incident on October 21. Addressing media persons, the SP said,” 4 drunken youths pelted stones in the Austrian foreign tourist vehicle. Though the couple had expressed their unwillingness to file an FIR but the Jorhat Police has registered a suo motu case U/S 336/427/34 IPC of Jorhat P.S case no 2291/15 and investigation is on to b the culprits as immediately as possible. What initially suggest is that the aim of the culprit was to create nuisance. Police were not aware of the tourists overnight stay in the Kokilamukh area of Jorhat. However as a goodwill gesture we offered our all possible help to repair the windshield”.

In between all these development, a widespread resentment about the incident soon became the talk of the town with the people posting in social media demanding stern action from the Jorhat Police while others demanded the replace of the windshield at government expenses. People also expressed shock in the way 4 drunken youths projected Assamese hospitality in front of the visiting foreign tourists and also spoke at length about the changing mentality of the Assamese youths who on seeing a lonely vehicle by the riverside and on seeing a foreign couple immediately came to the conclusion of an immoral activity. Nevertheless people have expressed relief about the woman tourist who was not subjected to any kind of physical torture which would have otherwise shamed the state government along with a strain in the bilateral relation between India and Austria.

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