Panaji: The upcoming 60th anniversary of Goa’s liberation from Portuguese rule may be used to once again tarnish the image of former Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru, the Goa unit of the Dakshinayan Abhiyaan said in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Damodar Mauzo, president of the state chapter of the Abhiyaan, an all India organisation which aims to promote freedom of expression and rationalism, accused Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and other BJP leaders like Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of participating in a misinformation campaign about Nehru’s role in the liberation of the former Portuguese colony on December 19, 1961.
“Goans will be deeply hurt if the year-long celebrations are marked by such unfair and twisted political statements that can damage the image of our beloved Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” Mauzo said in his letter to Kovind.
The President is scheduled to inaugurate a cultural programme on December 19 in Goa to mark the beginning of the year-long celebrations being planned by a committee headed by the Chief Minister.
“Dakshinayan Abhiyan Goa, with a heavy heart, would like to bring to your notice the spiteful and foul misinformation being spread indiscreetly and injudiciously that the liberation of Goa was delayed because of the then Prime Minister late JawaharLal Nehru. Earlier, the Union Minister, Prakash Javadekar and the CM of MP, Shivraj Singh Chouhan have gone on record and lately we heard the Chief Minister of Goa repeating the same imprudently,” the letter by Mauzo, a Sahitya Akademi award winning writer, said.
Sawant in several speeches has blamed Nehru for the 14-year delay in the liberation of Goa from Portuguese colonial yoke.
While India obtained independence from British rule in 1947, Goa was liberated from 451 years of Portuguese rule by the Indian armed forces on December 19, 1961.
Mauzo’s letter states that the delay in liberating Goa by the Nehru-led government was to avoid bloodshed and violence, which a hurried military action could have resulted in.
“Goan freedom fighters and other Nationalists who knew how ruthless and forbidding the Salazar (Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliviera Salazar) regime was, could very well understand and appreciate the peaceful, non-violent and diplomatic means adopted by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to tackle the all powerful western bloc.”
“The Portuguese had left no stone unturned to retain its supremacy over Goa which they termed as the Overseas Province of Portugal. The nasty role then played by NATO cannot be overlooked,” the letter said.
“The young independent India that believed in Gandhian approach played its cards very wisely and resultantly, through Operation Vijay, Goa was liberated. The peace-loving people of Goa are ever grateful to then prime minister late Jawaharlal Nehru whose cautious efforts led to liberate Goa without bloodshed,” the letter said.