Portugal should apologise to Goa for exploitation: Minister

Panaji, Jan 15 (IANS) A Goa cabinet minister on Friday demanded that Portugal apologise to Goa for exploiting it as a colony.

The statement came even as Goa’s Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza said newly-appointed Portuguese Prime Minister of Goan-origin Antonio Costa would be formally invited to visit the state soon.

Speaking during a discussion on a motion of congratulations for newly-elected Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who has Goan lineage, Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar said: “Goans cannot forget the past.”

“What has happened in Goa before 1961, everybody knows the history. Now if Goans have to appreciate Portuguese, I feel they should first apologise to us,” Dhavalikar said.

Costa, who took over as Prime Minister of Portugal last November, is the son of Orlando Costa, a Goan poet and a leftist activist.

Stating that it would be wrong to say that the Portuguese conquered Goa, the minister said: “Portugal was gifted parts of Goa by the then Adil Shah regime.”

Goa, one of the earliest colonies of Portugal, remained under its yoke for 451 years, until it was liberated by the Indian armed forces in 1961.

Deputy Speaker Francis D’Souza, who also recounted a visit to Portugal where Costa, then mayor of Portuguese capital Lisbon, had accorded him a grand civic reception.

D’Souza also said that at the time when Goa was colonised, Portugal was a dictatorship. “Times have changed now, Goa is now a democracy,” D’Souza said.

Chief Minister Parsekar also said that the Goa government would invite Costa formally to visit the state, to which the Portuguese premier owes part of his origin.

“It is a proud moment for us Goans. We should not hesitate to congratulate him. My deputy chief minister has said that he should be invited. The Leader of Opposition has also said the same thing. I think this should happen. We will do this for sure,” Parsekar said.

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