The state bid adieu to former deputy chief minister and five-term Mapusa MLA Francis D’Souza, who was laid to rest on Saturday with state honours in the presence of a large number of mourners including dignitaries.
A decorated truck, which was carrying the coffin with the mortal remains of Francis D’Souza that was draped with the national flag, left his residence around 3.30 pm.
The vehicle glided through the city street along with mourners and stopped at the St Jerome’s Church, Mapusa.
The funeral service was celebrated by Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao in the church along with other co-celebrants.
Around 3000 mourners had come together to pay the last tribute to Francis D’Souza on Saturday.
It must be noted here that the coffin containing the mortal remains of Francis D’Souza had been kept for public viewing at his residence since February 14, and thousand of his supporters and well-wishers had paid homage.
The mass was attended by various prominent citizens and political leaders including Union minister Shripad Naik, former chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Rajya Sabha MP and Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, South Goa MP Naresh Sawaikar, state legislative assembly Speaker Dr Pramod Sawant, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo, Urban Development Minister Milind Naik, Power Minister Nilesh Cabral, RDA Minister Jayesh Salgaonkar, Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho, Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha, Opposition leader Babu Kavlekar, Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo, Curtorim legislator Alex Reginaldo Lourenco, BJP general secretary Sadanand Tanavade, Chief Secretary Parimal Rai, protocol secretary W V Ramanmurthy,, DGP Dr Muktesh Chander, IGP Jaspal Singh and others.
The coffin containing mortal remains of Francis D’Souza was draped with the national flag at around 12.30 pm, and the flag was
there on the coffin till the burial time.
Following the mass, Ramanmurthy, Dr Chander paid tribute on behalf of the state government and placed wreaths on the coffin.
The departed leader was given ‘salami shastra’, which was followed by ‘shok shastra’ when the police band played ‘O My God’.
Then 21-gunshot salute was given as a mark of respect.
Speaking after the mass at the church, Joshua D’Souza, the son of Francis D’Souza, said that February 14 was a sad day not only for his family but for the nation as well, as we suffered the devastating loss of 40 brave soldiers.
“We would like to remember them and pray for their families too today,” Joshua D’Souza said.
“We will uphold his (Francis’) legacy and will carry on with humility, pride and grace just as he would have want us to do. With the blessings of my father, family and the people of Mapusa I shall continue and fulfil all his dreams for his hometown and fellow Mapusekars,” Joshua D’Souza said.
Stating that bearing the loss of loved ones is a painful experience, former deputy chief minister’s daughter Sofia D’Souza said, “Papa would always say that wounds heal as time passes by… It crushed my heart to see him go.”
She also recited a poem titled ‘If We Become Separated With Each Other’.
Tendulkar said that Francis D’Souza worked for all people, and recalled that “when I was new as an MLA, Babush taught me how to talk and how to raise question… Goa and our party has suffered a big jolt with his death.”
Ticlo said that he cannot encapsulate the life of Francis D’Souza in a few words.
“But all I can say is that he left behind fond memories and a personality that we all should strive to emulate… Francis was a Niz Mapusekar and then a Goenkar. He loved Goenkars and the presence of a large number of mourners has demonstrated this…,” Ticlo observed.
Later, the coffin with the mortal remains of the former deputy chief minister was buried at the Mapusa cemetery in the presence of family members and others.