Panaji, Feb 26 (IANS) The Goa government’s plans to house a museum dedicated to the memorabilia of former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at a former colonial prison complex under renovation, appear to have hit rough weather.
Freedom fighters in Goa have protested the proposed setting up of a museum dedicated to the four-time Chief Minister and Padma Bhushan awardee, claiming the Aguada prison complex, which is under repair and refurbishment should only house a museum dedicated to freedom fighters, many of whom were incarcerated in the Portuguese era fort and the memorabilia and display should only be limited to pre-1961 artifacts, photos, etc. Goa was liberated from 451 years of Portuguese rule in 1961.
“The Aguada fort museum should have nothing to do with what happened post 1961. It should be dedicated only to the history of the freedom movement history of Goa,” Nagesh Karmali spokesperson for the Goa Daman and Diu freedom fighters organisation told IANS on Wednesday.
Karmali’s statement comes a few days after Goa’s Ports Minister Michael Lobo said, that the under renovation complex, which dates back several centuries, would house a museum dedicated to Parrikar and the former CM’s personal effects, including his slippers, would be on display at the museum.
Karmali, however, said that the Aguada fort was representative of the struggles of the freedom fighters and the atrocities, they had to suffer at the hands of the British and no personality from the post-independence era could have a dedicated museum in the iconic fort-cum-prison’s precincts.
“If they want to erect memorials or museums for eminent personalities, they should build it elsewhere. Let Aguada be dedicated to the heroes of the freedom struggle only,” Karmali said.
Parrikar died following a prolonged battle with cancer in March last year. Following his death, the Opposition has accused the BJP-led coalition government in Goa of going on a spree of dedicating and christening projects after the former CM.
The Aguada fort was initially built in the 17th century by the Portuguese colonists to serve as a coastal sentinel and a water-refilling station for passing ships, before it was subsequently put to use as a high security prison by the colonial administration.
After liberation of Goa the facility also served as a central jail, until a more modern prison facility was built at Colvale village in North Goa.