Thursday, May 21, 2015
RAPISTS, THIEVES AND PLUNDERERS - 1961 by Bernado Colaco
The Goan Countryside was shorn of all police posts and the people were left to fend for themselves as well as they could in the face of the rising tidal wave of crime in which bandit and soldier vied with one another in the perpetration of evil instances became frequent in which respectable ladies were criminally assaulted in daylight by the indian soldiery, after being deprived of their ornaments and possessions.
ln one such incident just outside the Government House at Pangim, a pretty young lady teacher, leaving the Revenue Office after collecting her month's wages was promptly relieved of them by a couple of Indian officers in uniform, at gun point. ln another, which occurred at Alto-de-Porvorim, two respectable Hindu young ladies were being kidnapped from their home when the enraged villagers rushed to their rescue and horse whipped the Indian soldiers at the risk of their own lives.
ln Pangim, uniformed Indian officers and men paid a daylight visit to the house of a prominent and highly respected citizen, during his absence from home, under the pretence of looking for white Portuguese soldiers, and then asked for whiskey, seeking to put into execution a macabre plan of assaulting his pretty daughter in the presence of her invalid mother, before they could be persuaded to leave by a neighbour who happened to come in. Another pretty young lady teacher was criminally assaulted outside her school building in Saligão, in broad daylight, while a third was waylaid at the Margão railway station, also returning from her school, and left half dead by seven Sikh soldiers by the roadside till she was removed to the local hospital where she came mercifully to die.
In Canácona, troops with machine guns paid a midnight visit to the local parish Church and threatened the resident priest with death unless he consented to hand over to them the keys of the coffers. An identical incident occurred at the Seminary of the Virgin Mary at Saligão, where the treasurer, a young priest convalescing from recent fracture injuries to his legs, was similarly treated by midnight visitors, who finally escaped taking with them a number of transistor radio receivers, watches and cameras belonging to seminarians absent on vacation. Not far away in the same village, another respectable citizen, a retired businessman from East Africa, was unceremoniously relieved of a substantial sum of money at gun point and forced to submit himself to indignities because he could not come forth with a bigger sum. There was indiscriminate shooting down of innocent civilians, and Goan blood ran generously, shed by the hand of these invaders who professed to be their kindred come to liberate them from oppression.
A carefree, young primary school teacher, Germano de Sousa, father of three infants, was mown down by Indian rifle fire at Calangute while returning home from church service, merely because he did not understand what the soldiers asked him in Hindi. On a similar pretext, a young lad of twelve was riddled with bullets at Cansaulim, while returning home from a shopping errand on which his mother had sent, him. Trigger-happy Indian Union troops appeared to be just on a hunting spree.
Yet their victims were, according to Jawaharlal Nehru "just a few inevitable casualties necessary in a great war of liberation." Characteristically, not a word was permitted to appear concerning these and other similar occurrences in the press. Of course, the world must not on any account come to know of them. But truth will always come out into the open. The editor of The Free Press Journal of Bombay, T. S. George, commenting on this aspect of the situation in Goa, in February 1962, made veiled references to "other instances of violence and rowdyism" on the part of the Indian Union troops that had gone to liberate the people of Goa.
On January 16, at the seashore resort of Bogmaló, near the town of Vasco-da-Gama, vengeful Sikh soldiers, glutted with wine and overindulged lust, threw a hand grenade in the dead of night into the house of a restaurant keeper with whom they had previously had a petty dispute over the cost of a packet of cigarettes, killing his daughter and severely injuring his wife, and provoking widespread resentment against Nehru and his Liberators.
That evening, over five thousand black clothed Goans coming from all points of the country attended the funeral service of the ill-fated Luisa Rodrigues, to mark their protest, forcing a reluctant expression of regret from the military governor for this "regrettable incident"; but the bandit soldiers who, by the code of any other civilized country would have had to submit themselves to trial and punishment by court-martial, were permitted to escape into the Indian Union and eventually to join their families, as returning heroes.
Once more, the Indian press and the All lndia Radio-infamous information agencies of a democratic country that prides itself on freedom of expression and on so-called free dissemination of information-remained strangely silent. In Goa, a brief press note was issued from Government House, in view of the gravity of the situation provoked by the occurrence, and in Bombay only The Free Press Journal referred to it in passing.
Strange that only a month before, the entire press of the Indian Union-some hundreds of newspapers, published in English and in the vernacular languages-and the All lndia Radio were so vociferous about the fancied atrocities of the Portuguese authorities, whereas now they were struck dumb. Even the usually fearless and independent editor of The Current weekly of Bombay, D. F. Karaka, could persuade himself to refer to the tragic incident of Bogmalo, only on February 3, and that also as part of his anti-Menon election propaganda!
Excerpt from NSJ by L. Lourenco
By itself, all that has been detailed in the last chapter would have been sufficient to make the people of Portuguese India turn. But as if this were not so, Indian Union troops at once set about unleashing a reign of terror all over the country. Ugly-Looking bearded Sikhs and uglier-Iooking Marathas and Madrassis went about tuming the place upside down, looting houses and ransacking churches, despoiling shops of their stocks and generally behaving very much like barbarians of thirteenth century whenever they swooped down from their mountain lairs on the lush fields and rich cities of their more civilized neighbours.
They robbed and devastated where they could and exacted purchases at a ridiculously cheap price where they could not, removing everything to the illegal black-markets maintained by their relations back in the Indian Union, where huge, ungodly profits would now be in the order of the day', thanks to this loot. In a matter of days the shops in the towns and villages of Goa presented a sorry sight, many of them taking care thenceforth to remain locked behind hastily improvised notice boards that warned the public that they were closed for stock-taking, and others remaining open but completely empty, as though a cloud of gigantic grasshoppers with human appetites had passed through, leaving this trai! of desolation behind. One might have thought that it was a case of victorious troops running temporarily out of control in a riot of merry-making.
Far from it. This was organized, well-planned plundering of a conquered territory. Every day, after sundown, caravans of huge trucks and lorries left Pangim for Bombay and other points in the Indian Union carrying loads of well-packed antique fúrniture, luxury goods and priceless porcelain taken from government-owned buildings and establishments. The Governor General's residence, at the Cabo, was shorn of its centuries old collections of antiques and the finey carved furniture dating from the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries, which had evoked admiration from many a distinguished foreign connoisseur.
The Churches and Convents of Old Goa were also likewise depleted of their artistic wealth. lt was a reenactment of the sack of Delhi during the days of the Mughal Empire by the Afghan invaders under Nadir Shah. ln Pangim, Vasco-da Gama, Margao and Mapuça, restaurants, bars and wineshops suddenly began to run dry. Indian Union soldiers removed whiskey, brandy and, in fact, alI kinds of spirituous liquors by the bottle and even by the box.
The Indian military command itself airlifted loads of alcoholic drinks by helicopter to Belgaum and to Poona. Stocks were being rushed fast to replenish the lean bootleg markets at home; for sure, they were determined to enjoy a lush Christmas and New Year season this year, after being for so long fed on tomato juice by Nehru's prohibition-riddled government during the fifteen years of its existence.
There was apprehensive locking of doors and windows all around as mothers concealed their daughters and husbands sheltered their wives as securely as they could. There was a complete breakdown of law and order as agents of authority joined hands with professional bandits in an orgy of madness and violence. Indian military authorities approached by Goans in search of protection from the law retorted with some gusto and certainly with a lot more conviction, giving a lie to Nehru's statements, that their army had conquered Goa and that therefore the soldiers were entitled to a spree of looting and lustful enjoyment at the expense of Goans as was customary in all cases where one country is conquered by another with arms. Vae victis!