PANAJI: Leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as opposition leaders on Monday demanded resignation of South Western Railway (SWR) general manager Ajay Kumar Singh for allegedly suggesting that Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha was a Portuguese descent.
In a tweet, Goa BJP general secretary Adv Narendra Sawaikar demanded unconditional apology from the official and sought his immediate dismissal from service.
“Demand immediate unconditional apology from GM of @SWRRLY Shri AjayKumar for referring MLA Smt Alina Saldanha and people of Cortalim as Portuguese. We are Indians firstly and lastly. @PMOIndia @PiyushGoyal @RailMinIndia,” Adv Sawaikar tweeted.
Aam Adami Party (AAP) Goa convenor Elvis Gomes also termed the reference to the Cortalim MLA as "despicable".
"Despicable. How dare he? A manager of SW Railway Ajay Kumar Singh, Hubballi Division, insults @BJP4Goa women MLA Alina Saldanha. Says Goans are not Indians. @DrPramodPSawant, NRC started? @AAPGoa demands, if any self respect remains, get @PiyushGoyal @RailMinIndia to dismiss him. Now," Gomes tweeted.
The incident occurred when Alina Saldanha, a former minister was leading a protest against the proposed demolition of houses in her constituency to make way for doubling of railway track along the South Western Railways route.
On Sunday she took offence to being referred to as one of Portuguese descent during her face-off with Singh.
Alina told media persons that she had altercation with railway officials. "Are they taking Goans for granted by calling us Portuguese? We are Indians first," Alina said.
Singh, who functions from South Western Railway headquarters in Hubli in Karnataka, reportedly said, "India has houses that are 5000 years old. Goans were the invading force who came about 500 years back. When you all came, you also must have destroyed houses here... By you I meant Portuguese".