Goa RSS chief slams BJP for backing ‘anti-national’ event

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Panaji, May 31 (IANS) Accusing the BJP-led coalition government in Goa of “pandering to anti-nationalistic tendencies”, state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar on Tuesday said that he would oppose revival of a “pro-Portuguese” cultural event, as promised by a BJP-supported panel of councillors in the state capital.

Addressing a press conference here, Velingkar, who is also the convenor of Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch, a forum backing regional languages, has threatened to aggressively protest against the Fontainhas Heritage festival, if the party goes ahead with its plans.

“They are trying to pander to the pro-Portuguese sentiment. Why is the BJP supporting such anti-national issues?” he said.

The Fontainhas heritage festival was first started in the early 2000s, also during during ABJP-led coalition regime, in order to promote Goa’s unique Portuguese colonial tryst. Fontainhas is a part of the state capital’s charming old Latin quarter and the festival celebrated the fusion of Goan and Portuguese food, music, culture and architecture.

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Goa was a Portuguese colony for 451 years, before it was liberated from Portuguese rule by the Indian armed forces in 1961.

The festival however hit controversy at the time after the RSS with other sympathizers vandalized Portuguese road signages which were installed in the city as part of the event.

Velingkar has promised to do the same if the government attempted to organise the event once again.

“Overnight plaques were set up in the Portuguese language were set up and freedom fighters had broken them when the festival was first organised. This is independent Goa. There is no business remembering the Portuguese colonists. Those who committed atrocities will not be honored here,” Velingkar said.



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