Demanding that the government should carry out a survey as regards all those Goans, who have registered their birth with the Portuguese Central Registry in Lisbon, and penalise such individuals, the Goa Daman and Diu Freedom Fighters Association on Tuesday stated that the government of India should close down Portuguese Consulate in Goa as well as local offices of Portuguese organisations such as Fundação Oriente.
The freedom fighters association said that these offices should be closed down, as they have been promoting dual citizenship in the state in contravention of the treaty signed between Portugal and India in 1975, wherein Portugal had acknowledged the full sovereignty of India on the territories of Goa, Daman, Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, effective from the date these territories became part of India under the Constitution of India.
Senior freedom fighter Naguesh Karmali addressing a press conference in the presence of president of the association Shyamsunder Nagvekar and secretary Chandrakant Pednekar said that the government of Portugal later amended its ‘Organic Law’ thus allowing Goans to opt for dual citizenship, and this should make government of India severe all political ties with Portugal. “In fact, Portugal, unlike Britain and France who once ruled parts of India, is unnecessarily interfering with the internal matters of Goa by continuously organising cultural events here,” he added.
Speaking further, Karmali said that the politicians are taking a serious issue such as dual citizenship lightly, while those Goans, who have registered their birth in Portugal, are well aware of what they have done. “Such anti-national people, who overnight change their citizenship like a shirt and who are much more than their estimated number of around 40,000, pose threat to the national security since they can compromise on the sovereignty of India anytime,” he observed, maintaining that the freedom fighters are not interested in the religion of such people, but want to tackle the issue by considering them as people from Goa.
The senior freedom fighter predicted that setting up of an authority as recently promised by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju for handling the dual citizenship issue in Goa will at the most carry out investigation in the matter, but not take any related tangible action. “In fact, Article 9 of the Indian Constitution has no provision for dual citizenship and takes away all powers of a person who acquires citizenship of another country, including his or her rights to vote,” he added.
Karmali also warned that the Goa Daman and Diu Freedom Fighters Association will oppose the ongoing efforts to revive the Fontainhas Festival, and if this festival is restarted then, it would be forcibly stopped. “People already celebrate Maruti Jatra in Mala-Fontainhas area, and do not need another cultural event, especially from a country, which had destroyed the Goan culture during its 450-year colonial rule here,” he maintained.
Nagvekar, speaking on the occasion condemned successive governments in the state for fooling the freedom fighters through assurances about government jobs to their children. “What these governments have done is repeatedly relaxed the age limit of our children, for government employment and given some of them class III and class IV jobs,” he noted.