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  India   All India  13 Feb 2018  Touts a ‘menace’, harassing tourists soon to be criminal offence: Mahesh Sharma

Touts a ‘menace’, harassing tourists soon to be criminal offence: Mahesh Sharma

PTI
Published : Feb 13, 2018, 6:26 pm IST
Updated : Feb 13, 2018, 6:26 pm IST

Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma said that his ministry was in talks with the Home ministry regarding the issue.

Union minister Mahesh Sharma said, 'We are exploring how we can bring the culture of touts to an end by bringing them under the ambit of serious offences and organised crime so that they can be booked accordingly.' (Photo: File/PTI)
 Union minister Mahesh Sharma said, 'We are exploring how we can bring the culture of touts to an end by bringing them under the ambit of serious offences and organised crime so that they can be booked accordingly.' (Photo: File/PTI)

New Delhi: Describing touts as a "menace", Union Culture minister Mahesh Sharma on Tuesday said harassing or touching tourists could soon be a criminal offence, even punishable under the provisions of organised crime.

He said his ministry was in talks with the Home ministry regarding this and has also spoken to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister to find ways to deal with touts harassing tourists, especially those visiting the Taj Mahal.

"We are exploring how we can bring this 'lapka culture' (culture of touts) to an end by bringing them under the ambit of serious offences and organised crime so that they can be booked accordingly."

"First, we will warn them, then we will identify them and then we will punish them...We want to bring this in by April 1. These touts are a menace," the minister said.

Sharma, who met senior officials of the Agra district recently, said many tourists, both domestic and foreign, who visit the Taj Mahal are "ambushed" at the station itself and the harassment continues during their stay in the city.

He added that his stand on touts was not just restricted to the protection of tourists at the Taj Mahal, but also other places across the country.

Tags: mahesh sharma, tourist safety and security, ministry of culture
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi