“The Government of Goa has no authority to amend the Code of Comunidades through the Legislative Assembly as the Code governs comunidades and ganvkars,” former Power Minister and MLA Sadanand Malik told the seventy-five ganvkars and components of comunidades who gathered for the Comunidade Awareness Fellowship at Vividha Higher Secondary School in Sakhali, Navelim, on Saturday.
“The Centre has never admitted that the land in Goa belongs to them. So, it is surprising that the Government in Goa tries to project that it has the right over land that belongs to the comunidades. Land in Goa is not private property,” declared Malik.
Sadanand Malik then went on to explain how the comunidades in Goa can be strengthened by approaching the courts and how the ganvkars of Goa should stand firm to establish the dominion of their land. The former Power Minister explained to the ganvkars how they are legally entitled to stop the government from “trampling over” them.
“Ganvkars in Goa and specifically Bicholim Taluka need to unite and come together to fight for their rights. The fight now is being fought by a few individuals. We need to be more cohesive and show our unity more often,” Pratap Gawas, former MLA of Pale constituency told the gathering.
“Land in Goa belongs to the ganvkars, and we should be proud in claiming that the land is ours. The comunidades in Goa need to be alert and active. People and especially outsiders tend to think they have rights over comunidade land because our comunidades are complacent. We need to be vigilant,” claimed Rui Gama, the president of Moira comunidade, during his address.
“There are times when committee members of comunidades are tempted by bribes, and it is at this time that we have to realise that the land is not ours but bestowed on us by God. We cannot allow the land to be misused,” added Rui Gama.
The fellowship started with Fr Visitacao Monteiro stating that he had come to participate as a ganvkar and not as a representative of the Catholic Church. Fr Monteiro narrated the history of comunidades and extolled what it means to be a ganvkar and how ganvkars lived their life in the past and how greed is corrupting the system nowadays.
The session concluded with ganvkars calling for the setting up of a legal cell and a committee of ganvkars to centrally coordinate problems faced by the comunidades in Goa.