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Shonky hotelier assaults female tourist in India

A dishonest tour operator, poor quality hotels with faulty electrical connections and a seemingly corrupt police officials successfully destroyed the happiness of a couple on their honeymoon in India earlier this year.

Sneha Paul Gray, a Communications Executive at KPMG New Zealand also suffered physical assault, verbal abuse and insinuation, while her husband Lance Gray, a Control System Engineer at SCA Hygiene Australasia was nonplussed by such inhumane treatment in a land known for its traditional values and hospitality.

Ms Gray, a native of Tamil Nadu, thought of spending her honeymoon in India with her husband and chose the ‘best available offer’ from Splendour Holidays Private Limited, a Goa based tour operator.

“We were recommended by a friend in New Zealand and hence chose this Company for domestic air travel, accommodation and tours in India. Little did we know that we had booked ourselves for a ride full of deceit and discourtesy,” she said.

Following a pleasant stay at her home in Tamil Nadu, she and her husband arrived in Delhi to ‘experience the best of the Capital City.’

A Three Star slum

Their excitement was short lived. Ms Gray said they were taken to a slum, where their so-called, ‘Three Star’ hotel was located. If they were not warmed up to the damp bed sheets, loosely hanging electrical wires and rude behaviour of the hotel staff, they thought Jaipur (the Pink City and Capital of Rajasthan), their next destination would be great.

They were wrong. Apart from an unclean and unhygienic hotel, the couple had a nasty treat of greedy tour guides and corrupt merchants.

“We then looked forward to our visit to Mumbai, saying, ‘India’s commercial capital would be far better.’

“In fact, it turned out to be the worst,” Ms Gray said.

Splendour Tours had booked their accommodation at Hotel Galaxy, which advertises itself as ‘A luxurious Star Hotel’ in Santa Cruz on its website.

A rude experience

But Ms Gray’s experience was different.

“This hotel is also located in a slum area and did not appear to be a three-star property as advertised and paid for in advance. While my husband was on the phone talking to Splendour Holidays, I was taking photographs of the Hotel as proof of its location and quality. A rude man, seated in the lobby, yelled at me, saying, ‘Get out!’ He grabbed the camera and punched me on my face. He then asked three other men, who turned up from nowhere, to forcibly and violently throw me out of the hotel. He also threw my camera to the ground,” she said.

Having heard that the Mumbai Police were ‘Second only to Scotland Yard,’ she went to a nearby Police Station to lodge a First Information Report (FIR).

Her experience again was contrary to belief.

“We explained our situation to an officer called Sanjay. The hotel manager and some of the offenders came in and apologised profusely, saying it was a misunderstanding.

We told the Police to take them away and let us file an FIR, which would be useful at least to claim insurance for the damages incurred.

I heard Sanjay telling one of the offenders that they had meddled with foreigners and that it would have been alright if the persons involved were Indian citizens. I was shocked,” she said.

Mr Gray appealed to the Police to arrest the man who had assaulted his wife, following which the Police asked the hotel owner to scribble an apology on a plain piece of paper.

Nothing of course happened thereafter.

The Grays left Mumbai exhausted and disgusted.

Ms Gray has written to a number of officials in India including Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Goa, Federal Tourism Minister Sultan Ahmed, Indian High Commissioner Retired Admiral Sureesh Mehta and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

“No one has thus far replied to my letter sent on April 4, 2011, except the office of Mr Key saying that they would try to take up the matter with the concerned,” she said.

The above is a (highly) edited version of the original copy supplied by Sneha Paul Gray. To read her unsavoury experience in full with more photographs of the state of the hotels, please go to the following webpage:

http://grayexperience.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/22/

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