Thursday, April 11, 2013
GOA LIBERATION DAY By Paulo Dias
The real Goan freedom fighters are still waiting for a liberation day: A true Goan Liberation Day.
What some of us call liberation cannot be considered liberation in the eyes of international law.
Regarding the events of 18 Dec 1961, both the Republic of India and Portugal were members of the UN. The Republic of India had recognized the Portuguese State in the Indian subcontinent as a neighboring country administered by Portugal and even held a general consulate of India there up to early 1955. So there is no doubt that the Portuguese presence in the Indian subcontinent was accepted and recognized by the Republic of India.
The Portuguese State (Goa, Damao, Diu, Dadra and Nagar-Aveli) in the Indian subcontinent became in * 1951 * a province of Portugal in an integral part of Portugal (no longer a colony) and was listed in the official UN list of internationally recognized provinces that both Portugal and the Republic of India were signatories.
The events of 18th December 1961 will always be recorded in the history books as an illegal invasion, an act of aggression, a clear violation of UN resolutions and International Law. No doubt, a very dark episode in Nehru’s life which damaged his reputation and his international image forever, for which Nehru still receives criticism today from some of his fellow Indian colleagues that worked under him.
Those who know and understand the truth do not hesitate in criticizing Nehru for his illegal actions even today.
The Republic of India calls it: an act of conquest. This is what the Supreme Court of India determined.
Yes, the Supreme Court of India has determined that Goa was conquered from the Portuguese on the 19th Dec 1961. So you see, what really happened according to the Republic of India was a conquest. Not a liberation. Liberation is the term used (*wrongly!*) by some of us Goans because we would really like to think we have been liberated. But anyone who would care to do some research on this subject would easily find out that the reality is far from that.
Conquest was the only way to make it legal from the Indian Union point of view. And they did it through a Supreme Court of India determination.
Of course they forgot that we were already in the XX century and conquests just do not make any sense anymore. Especially after the foundation of the United Nations.
We Goans have been conquered by the Portuguese centuries ago and remain today conquered! The only difference is that we changed masters and our new conquerors are the Republic of India - a country that is in existence for little more than 60 years or so. A country that may perhaps only have ethnicity in common with us Goans.
Yes it could have been liberation. It could have! But it was not!
Kuwait was liberated from Iraq in the 1990s. But Goa was not liberated.
In my opinion, 19th Dec 1961 could have been a liberation only and only if Nehru had allowed Goans to hold a plebiscite to decide the future of Goa and if Goans had chosen to allow accession to India via that democratic plebiscite. But Nehru did not allow us to hold a plebiscite and we will never know if the majority of us Goans wanted to go down the route of accession or not. True, Goa is today a state of India and has some degree of independence but it remains one of the only states of India that did not officially agree to accession to India. There was no instrument of accession signed and there was no instrument of merger signed. Annexation was imposed on us Goans. Goa * did not * sign any instrument of accession. But every other state did in 1947 or in the years after 1947.
Of course any discussion about this today will always be purely academic… But it is sad that some of us Goans cannot recognize the truth.
There was no instrument of accession to India.
There was no plebiscite on that matter despite several requests to hold one and there were no options given to Goans.
We were conquered by India on the 19th Dec 1961. I know, the truth hurts but how anyone can call it “liberation” is beyond my understanding.
Many are now calling it conquest, which is quite correct. That is what the Republic of India says it happened on the 19th Dec 1961 and only some of the stubborn ones amongst us continue to believe we have been liberated!
The real freedom fighters were betrayed by both India and Portugal. By India because it refused to hold a plebiscite and by Portugal because it closed the issue in 1975 by recognizing the illegal annexation of Goa by the Republic of India despite several complaints from Goans and requests to continue the de facto administrative power in Goa until a resolution could be achieved in the UN for the future of Goa (as it happened few years ago in East Timor where Portugal did not recognize the illegal annexation by Indonesia and remained the administrative power in East Timor according to the UN until the territory was handed over to the UN in early 2000 and independence was proclaimed through democratic plebiscite soon after).
On the 14 Dec 1960, the UN passed a resolution that all self-governing territories should be given the right of self-determination. Everyone knows that in 1961, the administration of Goa was already 99% Goan. The Judiciary was 100% Goan and Goa was even going to have a Goan governor appointed – Dr. Armando Goncalves Pereira. One possible theory is that Nehru wanted to stop Goa from becoming independent from Portugal as Goa was becoming eligible for it under the UN resolution of 14 Dec 1960. That fact, according to some historians, speeded up the process for the invasion and annexation of Goa by the Republic of India and ended once and for all the dream of independence that the real freedom fighters always had for Goa.
From the top of my head, two of those real freedom fighters were Prof. Froilano de Mello and Dr. Bruto da Costa (lawyer).
No doubt they were betrayed and let down by both India and Portugal whilst all of us other sossegado Goans watched and did nothing about it.