A group of bikers from Kerala apologised to Bhutan for the “unruly” behaviour of an Indian motorist, who climbed atop a Buddhist shrine earlier this month. The bikers posed in front of a Buddha statue in Thimphu holding placards which read: ‘We are Indians, we are sorry that another Indian rider has offended your faith’, reported NorthEast Now.
Abhijit Ratan Hajare from Maharashtra was detained by the Royal Bhutan Police on October 18 after he climbed atop the structure in Dochula Pass to get himself photographed.
1/3 Breaking: The tourist in the biker outfit is Abhijit Ratan Hajare from the Indian state of Maharashtra.
In the second picture the man sitting on the ladder is a Bhutanese citizen and carpenter, Jambay, who was doing repair works on the Chortens pic.twitter.com/Mq3vn2VKSI
— The Bhutanese (@thebhutanese) October 18, 2019
Vishnu Sathya and his 8 biker friends were in the middle of their biking trip that began from Kerala when they heard the news of the errant Indian tourist, reports The NewsMinute.
“After that incident, they brought in some restrictions. We couldn’t get our permits individually. We had to get it through a travel agency. We also had to have a local guide with us,” Vishnu told The News Minute. The bikers’ initial plan was to put a sticker on their bike saying, ‘Sorry, Bhutan’ but decided not to. “.. the Bhutanese people were so nice we didn’t need to do that. They were trying to tell us indirectly about what happened and why they were worried, and we assured them that there was nothing to worry. The people were more sad than angry,” Vishu told The NewsMinute.
To show their respect for the sacred structures in the country, Vishnu and friends stood with placards apologising for the incident at a Buddha point in Thimphu. The Dochula Pass has 108 memorial chortens (stupas) built in honour of the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed in the December 2003 battle against Assamese insurgents from India.
Similar Past Instances
This is not the first time that Indian tourists were reported to be breaking laws in foreign countries. In July, a video of an Indian family stealing from a hotel in Indonesia’s Bali had gone viral on social media. The hotel staff busted the family who had a plethora of accessories including hanger, towel decorative items taken from the hotel in their bags.
— Ginny (@rumilife0612) July 27, 2019
In April, UK’s Leicester city had put up a sign-board in English and Gujarati saying, “Spitting paan on the street is unhygienic and anti-social. You could be fined £150 (Rs 13,000)”. According to Leicestershire Police, the habit seemed to be more prevalent in the east section of the city, including areas like Spinney Hills, North Evington and Belgrave – places which have a high density of Indian population.
Just for information. pic.twitter.com/bd481XA2em
— Empowerment is within us (@EmpoweringGoa) April 12, 2019
In July, industrialist Harsh Goenka tweeted a notice put up by Hotel Gstaad in Switzerland. The notice had a list of rules for Indian guests: “Please do not take anything with you, the food is for breakfast only. If you would like a lunch bag, you can order it from the service stall and pay for it.”
Guests were also directed to not “speak loudly” in the balcony and “be quiet” in the corridor.
Reading this notice I felt angry, humiliated and wanted to protest.
But a realisation dawned that we as tourists are loud, rude, not culturally sensitive. With India becoming an international power, our tourists are our best global ambassadors. Let’s work on changing our image! pic.twitter.com/7R4ZrZIXKi
— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) July 22, 2019