Sunday, April 3, 2016

Pro-Hindu Government Targeting Peaceful Dissent In Goa – by Bosco de Souza Eremita

Activists held a rebel music program to protest a state-run music competition in Goa that only allowed government promotional songs. Critics say the pro-Hindu state government is trying to curb free speech and democratic spaces across the country.  
The pro-Hindu government in western Indian Goa is intolerant of criticism and uses state power to silence dissent, say church leaders and activists. Goa state's pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is attempting to "curb the secular, socialist and democratic spaces of citizens," said Father Savio Fernandes, executive secretary of the Goa Archdiocesan Council for Social Justice and Peace.  "The right to peaceful dissent and opposition against various forms of injustice is a fundamental right in the national Constitution," he said via a recent statement.
The priest’s statement followed state efforts to halt peaceful protests against a defense and aero expo being held in the state later this month. Church and activists also say the state has increasingly tried to silence protests against government policies that they say help businesses take over ecologically fragile lands.
They are also concerned about the unresolved death of environmental activist Bismarque Dias, a former Blessed Sacrament priest. Dias’ body was found floating in Mandovi River, Nov. 7. Suspecting murder, his friends and family postponed his funeral and demanded a thorough probe. However, the government has refused to further investigate the death of the activist who criticized state polices on land use.
Songs for the state
Activists also say the state government tries to promote itself at the expense of the people. Earlier this month the state used traditional tiatr methods of song and drama that are mostly practiced by the region’s Catholics.
As part of a state sponsored singing competition, the competitors were only allowed to sing songs in the local Konkani language that lauded state schemes and policies. "How are we to keep quiet about this nonsense?" asked Wilmix Mazerello, a senior Konkani stage artist.
Mazerello said that tiatr and songs associated with it have traditionally been critical of government. "Here the government wants us to sing its own hosannas which goes against the very principle of tiatr and free speech," said Mazerello.
Joe Rose, another senior artist said he turned down an invitation to judge the competition because the government was using it to promote itself. Across the country minority groups say there has been a rise in intolerance towards them. Much of it has been fueled by the Hindu nationalist government, which they say is increasingly becoming more hard-line.
Christians, mostly Catholics, now comprise about 25 percent of Goa's population, close to 70 percent of whom are Hindus. Goa, a former Portuguese colony, was once considered a Catholic stronghold with Catholics making up 64 percent against 35 percent Hindus, according to the 1851 census.

1 comment:

  1. respond to Criminals are preparing for yet another assembly election under the modern-day Republic of India. Goa is ripped off in all different ways by criminals who get protected through democracy under the Indian constitution. The extention of Indian type democracy brought into Goa by your father, most respected patriot Late Shri.Roque Santan by holding 3 day Satyagraha is not working as he intended.

    All every election just transfers corruption in different hands. Goa core cause ‘Special Status’ which was the only way we could save whatever was left of Goa under present circumstances the only way out of this vicious circle is time for Goans to think a course of action and explore them.

    India does not hold mandate to rule Goa, having been denied then the timely plebiscite, nor through any authoritative world international order body like United Nations. India continues to illegally occupy Goa. It is time for Goans to take Goa out of India. This is the easiest and simplest thing that can be done to benefits our Goan population and leave us at peace. The mere intention to grant every Goans born before 1961 Portuguese passports the International Law endorses the Goans as bona fide legal claimants of their territory of Goa. The Chavan/Soares treaty which is just a bilateral treaty and has not come in the way of this intention and in any way stopped it. Under the International Law this intention to grant every Goan Portuguese (Citizenship) passport makes Goans rightful owners of Goa. At the time of negotiating of officially transferring of power of Goa to India in New York in 1974, only the two persons – foreign ministers of India and Portugal – decided what is good and what is bad for Goans without even consulting Goans. Nor all that was done in Indian Parliament can take the Goan right should be challenged in the United Nations.
    We have to approach within the current generation and see if we can get a new leadership from them to fight peacefully for our rights, by approaching UN, and Challenge and undo all this for our land.

    UN Charter gives certain facilities to the indigenous people who are facing a disguised genocide in Goa. Global Goans can think over this issue because they are in better position to make their voice more audible.

    Deforestation in the Goan mining belt, corruption in the implementation of Medicine to Goans, sale of Goan lands. The Christian community and their festivities. Not allow people on Anjediva Island for the feasts, as the Indian navy has been building luxury resort for their families there and fooling Goans by making up fake terrorist threats. The Navy out of Dabolim for its illegal occupation. All this is proof that Goans cannot trust the democratically elected Government under the Indian constitution.

    In 1961, the Indian Union invaded and annexed Goa to them without any plebiscite, merely a result of a conquest by force of arms! This was hypocrisy and this is the root cause of all this corruption.

    Realising that injustice was done to Goans Jawaharlal Nehru said in reverse psychology - “It is not true that we covet Goa. That small bit of territory does not make any difference to this great country India. We do not desire to impose ourselves on the people of Goa against their wishes. It is definitely their responsibility to choose for themselves. We have assured Goans. That it is for them to establish their own future and I further assure them on matters such as Religion, Languages and Customs”. - 21st August 1955.