Thursday, April 11, 2013
HOW I SAW THE INVASION OF GOA By Francisco Monteiro, Majordá
Turning the calendar page for next day on December 18 another anniversary of the brutal and insidious invasion of Goa, Daman and Diu by troops of the Indian Union, I want through a simple and short narrative of the events lived by me for exactly 50 years ago, paying tribute to who gave their lives in defense of those territories.
We're on 18 December 1961 and as usual by 06H30 am in the chapel of the residence of Jesuit priests in Panjim attending Mass, the silence of the religious ceremony is suddenly broken by violent explosions and the shaking up of the building, a dash to the balcony and I saw six jet aircrafts of the Indian Air Force to pass over the city. The Holy Mass by Fr. Garcia comes to a hurried end within a few minutes. A look at the clock and saw that the time was a few minutes past seven. As I was returning home having met some people who said that the Indian Union began the invasion of Goa, Daman and Diu. The planes that were seen were fighter bombers who attacked and destroyed the Radio Station of Goa. Some friends said that Altinho find themselves distinctly the station's buildings ablaze.
At home we had moments of some anxiety not knowing for sure what was happening, the house where we live is just over 100 meters of the Government Palace (Palacio de Hidalcão) on the south bank of the river Mandovi opposite Betim and is an easy target and is within reach of the Indian artillery, what to do? Our basic instincts gave us the advice and go down very quickly to the small backyard where we had a small store that has the cover in reinforced concrete and I think that could provide us shelter in case of bombing, cleaned the warehouse so that it could be used in case of emergency. My mom thought we should go to Aunt Alba at Avenida Almirante Reis - near the Church where it would be safer. Quickly arranged some clothes and other essentials and walked to her aunt's house Alba. The city is deserted, shops are closed, no classes, after a few minutes you begin to see some movement of the Portuguese troops (Hunter Company No. 1) and some police forces. It is ten o'clock and in the vicinity of the premises of the newspaper "oHeraldo" located downtown at Rua Conde de Torres Novas are concentrated many people going by sending their views, some say Indian troops coming from the northern border and are already in Mapuçá advancing from the East have already reached Fronterea Ponda. Others say they saw paratroopers to be launched at several points. We did not believe anything they said. The rumors run quickly and are a "weapon" demoralizing for reduced Indo-Portuguese forces.
However Vieira my uncle who lives on the outskirts of the city came to us and said youu better get out of the city and go to his house because he heard that the city will be bombed if the Portuguese troops did not surrender. But my uncles Joaquim Alba prefered to stay in his house, we agreed to go with Uncle Vieira, but we had a problem to solve first, is that we have in our company the "Pilot", our "faithful friend" whom we had to take back our house before heading to his uncle's house Vieira, what I and my brother Philip José do, careful to leave some food and water, which we feel will be enough for the day, because we wanted to return to our home in the afternoon or the following morning, before leaving the house we took a look at the avenue walk over of the river Mandovi where two platoons of Company Hunters paragraph 1 take defensive positions, lack of heavy weapons, with only the old "Mauser" and two guns "Dreyse" that cannot prevent the advance of Indian troops to repel the posterior and Betim river crossing.
We went off to where already other family members (uncles and cousins) and some neighbours gathered. The first thing we did is find out the radio news about what is going on but could not get any signal, tried the BBC, Voice of America, the All India Radio, the national radio station, etc. our Radio Station Goa did not emit any news after the bombing by the Indian Air Forces.
Around noon there was strong detonations and explosions, some very distant others closer, the former are a result of explosions of dynamite by placed by Portuguese troops to destroy the bridges over several rivers, the destruction of the bridges is done to slow the advance of Indian troops, the detonations that are closer, that vibrated the buildings are related to fighting between the Company of 1st Class "Albuquerque" and the Indian frigate "Beas", "Betwa" and "Cauvery". Despite the overwhelming superiority of the Indian forces in both numerical and arming the "Albuquerque" fight resolutely held up the Indian warships from entering the Port of Mormugao, I was anxious and hoping that the "Albuquerque" can win this battle ship, but gradually the numerical superiority of the Indian army takes over the heroic Portuguese sailors. Commander, Captain of Sea and War António da Cunha Aragon is grievously injured, the Cabin Boy Piedade is shot dead, the warning is strong. Badly injured and stranded near Bambolim Beach; the garrison is forced to abandon it because there is no possibility to continue the fight.
At about sixteen hundred hours me and my brother Jose Filipe without the knowledge of anybody went to our home in the city centre to see how "Pilot" was, when we got near the house, we heard some explosions in the northern bank between Britona and Penha de France, and knew that they were the Indian troops who are approaching quickly from Betim while the small Portuguese forces that were in Mapuçá - Reconnaissance Squadron 1 and the Society of Hunters, No 9, Ucassaim on orders of Plan Watchtower using our typical ferry boats and barges to transport ore and leave Betim is grouped in Panjim, which was already the Reconnaissance Squadron No. 2 coming from Bicholim. Near the Government Palace is concentrated a huge group of people among whom some are supporters of the Indian Union, pass some cars and trucks with people shouting "Jai Hind" (Long live India). We went in the house and "Pilot" welcomed us with expressions of joy that we correspond with caresses that would calm him. In an apparent Marginal everything is calm, there is no evidence of fighting, there is a great nervousness among the commanders of military units, police and Fiscal Guard, some are of the opinion that it was not worth to resist and therefore must surrender, others feel that Indian attack should be resisted, the minutes pass quickly and we have to return to where the rest of the family members were, when we reached my uncle's house we found that no one had noticed our absence, and were assured enough. Behind the house of my uncle Vieira is the road that goes to Agaçaim of Panjim, which had a normal day in heavy traffic, but now there was no movement. At about eighteen hours we saw a jeep approaching "Toyota" green than the driver who led three young people, I recognised one of the occupants inside - Julio Camelo who is a high school classmate who lived in the hostel for students “Lar dos Estudantes” in Altinho ; the driver told us that came expressly to take Julio and the others to Margao to their families who are in that city, I asked the driver how the situation was in Margao and he replied that there was no news.
The time was 7:00 pm and it is nigh, we have pray the rosary asking for peace and divine protection, asked the intercession of the patron Saint of Goa Francis Xavier, after almost twenty hours we finally heard the "BBC" - confirms that the invasion of Goa by troops of the Indian Union on three fronts and adds that in Goa and there was virtually no resistance from the Portuguese troops but in Daman and Diu there had been violent fighting. For dinner, uncles give their views, say that the Portuguese troops have no chance to resist, we heard and I personally did not want to believe anything he said. No one slept, hours passed and when the first rays of sun on the 19th December the "All India Radio" Bombay announces that the Portuguese troops stationed in Panjim had surrendered to Indian troops, throughout the afternoon surrendered last Portuguese troops concentrated along the road-Verna Margao-Cortalim and Mormugao Peninsula. The All India Radio news said that Daman and Diu as well was just surrendered. It's the end of Portuguese Goa and the State of India's great creation of Albuquerque. Over 19 days thousands of Indian soldiers backed by tanks, armored vehicles, amphibious cars and artillery units occupied Goa and its presence is evident in Panjim which was a quiet city and that for the first time is subject to curfew. Several shops and canteens are looted by the Indian Military. Is it the promised "liberation"!
The disciple of Gandhi, Nehru the pacifist defied of all international norms, the Charter of the United Nations and the resolutions of the UN General Assembly 1414 (XV), 1541 (XV) and 1542 (XV), mobilised over 30,000 troops, artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, with the support of powerful naval and air forces to invade, occupy and annex Goa, Daman and Diu, which were under Resolution 1542 (XV) non-autonomous territories administered by Portugal. The representative of the Indian Union at the United Nations Mr. C. S. Jha, duly instructed by Mr. Nehru, speaking at an emergency meeting of the Security Council requested by Portugal had the nerve to say quote: "With the UN Charter or without the UN Charter, the Security Council with or without Council Security will continue the invasion and annexation is a fait accompli, we should not forget this, that Indian rulers are regarded as "democrats" and "pacifists." The Goans and Damanenses Diuenses were neither heard nor found they had to accept the "diktat" faux champion of peace the almighty Mr. Pandit Nehru Jawarlal.