BY RAJU NAYAK
BJP leader Sidharth Kuncalienker alleged the Mhadei rally held at Virdi-Sankhali, was influenced by bigoted forces. This, when the BJP in Goa tried everything in their power to obstruct the rally at Virdi.
Earlier planned to be held near the municipality of Sankhali, this rally had to be shifted to Virdi at the last minute. This was because the municipality refused permission just one day before the rally.
As Sankhali is the chief minister’s constituency, administrative pressure was used to impede the Mhadei rally. Every effort was made to manipulate people and dissuade them from attending the rally.
Division amongst the opposition parties was also attempted. Despite the subterfuge, a huge crowd rallied together to save the Mhadei.
Instead of using their political acumen to bolster the people’s movement and pressurise the central government on the issue, the ruling party sought to sabotage the rally.
Supporting the rally to save the Mhadei would have garnered the government a notch of success for saving Mhadei from diversion. But instead, the present government with its blatantly oppositional behaviour seems quite willing to allow the central government to go ahead with the project.
Forget political strategies in favour of the people’s movement. For the last three years, the Sawant government has been mum over the issue and has not put in any effort to push the matter to the Supreme Court.
After the advocate at the centre changed, it was the duty of the state government to appoint another expert advocate and try to bring the matter to the Supreme Court.
Home Minister Amit Shah commented that Goan people want to do Satyagraha, and this government is trying to prove their high command’s words.
They should not have made this issue about their prestige and should have allowed people to oppose the diversion without restrictions, then the central government would have felt discontent of the Goan people.
Now Sidharth Kuncalienker has alleged that the rally was influenced by bigoted forces. This may be because of the presence of Subhash Velingkar. When he stood up to give a speech, he was booed by the people, and many of them just left the rally.
The rally was attended by many people from Salcete, and the majority were from the Christian community.
Organisers made mistake in the first place by giving Velingkar the chance to express his views. Velingkar is known for his controversial statements against St Francis Xavier, known as Goencho Saib.
Velingkar holds that St Francis Xavier played a role in the Goa Inquisition and religious conversion, hence he should not be hailed as Goencho Saib. This naturally hurt the religious sentiments of the Christian community.
Despite the Inquisition and religious conversion, St Francis Xavier remains a symbol of religious and cultural pride for both the Christians and Hindus of Goa. Many Hindus seek the saint’s blessings and call him Goencho Saib.
Although none from the Christian community have retaliated against Velingkar for his inflammatory statements about the saint, some rightly incensed Christians did proceed to boo him on the public platform.
One cannot condemn the Christian community for their untoward behaviour in a public forum. If it were a situation where Hindu religious sentiments had been trampled upon, the so-called saviours of Indian culture and bhakts would have not spared the person in question.
This country has been witness to numerous incidents of communal prejudice in recent years. The mere doubt of having beef in the house has led to the killing of a person. Many Christian missionaries and nuns have been facing persecution all over the country.
Does Sidharth Kuncalienker not consider the perpetrators of such acts bigots? The late Parrikar had started mission Salcete to woo the Christian community.
At the time, he was meeting Christian religious leaders with the express purpose of obtaining votes. The tourism minister has recently visited Catholic priests and gifted them a book on Modi.
During Modi’s recent visit to Goa, he suggested that all BJP karyakartas work with the Christian community, not only during elections, but throughout the five years of his office.
Within a month Kuncalienker is making allegations against people who came to attend the rally organised on the occasion of the Opinion Poll Day for the love of Mhadei.
Kuncalienker should know that the Mhadei diversion will affect North Goa the most and especially the Hindu community. The Christian community has forgotten all differences and has come forward to support the cause. In fact, Hindus are not actively participating in this movement.
This could be due to pressure from the “Baba” of Sattari as he has given government jobs to each house in Sattari. It could be due to pressure from the chief minister.
Unfortunately, Hindus are not active in other talukas as well. Not even their religious leaders are showing any proclivity towards participation or preaching to their followers.
The possibility of them being in cahoots with the saffron brigade is highly likely.
In Karnataka, the political parties as well as religious leaders are guiding people on the issue of the diversion of water.
Kuncalienker should not forget that the same Christian community and their churches have put in their wholehearted effort during Goa’s Opinion Poll and helped Goa to retain its language and self-respect.
If it were not the case, neither these 40 MLAs would exist nor would Goa have attained the statehood we are enjoying today.
Unfortunately, the Christian community is becoming weaker and a minority in Goa.
Ignoring the pains that they have taken to make a difference in Goa and accusing them of unbecoming conduct should stop immediately. Kuncalienker should know that while he is pointing one finger towards them, the other four are pointing towards him...