Commenting on the recent events at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, where students were accused of sedition and subsequently students union president Kanhaiya Kumar arrested and other two students surrendered, former Union minister Eduardo Faleiro said the incident reminds him of similar events that happened in a Portugal university in the late 50s and 60s, where he was studying, and which ended the dictatorial Salazar regime.
Faleiro said, “The Portuguese students that time played a major role in opposing the authoritarian Salazar regime which was modeled on Italian and German fascist style. Salazar tried to put an end to freedom of speech in Portugal. When the university students and workers organisations began demonstrations against his regime, they were arrested by the PIDE, the Portuguese Secret Police of the time and the most committed students were sent to the colonial war in Africa.”
Faleiro told this daily that instructions were also issued to the Portugal police to arrest anybody for ‘actions that represent hostility towards the executive power.’ However interestingly, the students’ protests and movements against the dictatorial regime in Portugal signaled the beginning of end of the Salazar regime.
Meanwhile, Faleiro opined that it would be inappropriate to demand an apology from the Portuguese Prime Minister for the wrongs committed during the colonial rule if and when he visits Goa as our honoured guest on our own invitations. His reactions came after certain section of the people had demanded Portugal PM’s apology.
Faleiro said, “Portugal would benefit if its government tenders an apology to its former colonies. The present international scenario encourages such apologies and even compensation to the people who were colonised. It creates an atmosphere of reconciliation, friendship and cooperation among the people concerned.
He recalled that over the last decade, several former colonial powers have issued such apologies. The British Foreign Minister apologised and awarded compensation of about 20 millions pounds to Kenyans who were abused and tortured by the British colonial officers in the 1950s. The Dutch government apologised and was ordered by the Dutch court to pay compensation to victims of an incident in Indonesia in 1947. The government of Germany apologised to the people of Namibia for crimes committed during the colonial rule and a similar apology was issued by the government of Japan to the people of South Korea. Italy paid a compensation of five billion dollars to Libya for atrocities committed during its colonial rule there. The French President admitted to wrongdoings during the French rule in Algeria.