Goa would have got liberated 14 years earlier if it was not for the delayed decision of India’s first Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, said Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. According to him, it was the Nehru who waited 14 years to decide on the army operation to liberate Goa from Portuguese Rule. Goa was Liberated in 1961 by the Indian Army in operation Vijay.
Almost 14 years after India attained Independence from British, Goa was liberated from the Portuguese rule. The efforts of Indian Army played a vital role in Goa’s Liberation, said the Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant.
Mr Sawant was addressing the during the ‘Know Your Army’ Mela held at Campal Ground in the capital city of Goa. According to the reports, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has sparked a controversy after he blamed India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for having delayed Goa’s liberation which resulted in the state being freed from the Portuguese rule 14 years after the rest of the country.
“Truth be told, India got Independence in 1947, the people of the entire country got the fruits of Independence. But unfortunately for Goans, we had to wait 14 years to taste freedom. The Prime Minister at the time Jawaharlal Nehru was responsible for this. And because of him, we got liberation 14 years later. If he had the political will, if he was really concerned about Goans then, and really felt that Goa should have been liberated from the Portuguese then we would have got liberation 14 years earlier. Never mind in 1947. He should have thought about us at least in 1950,” Sawant said.
“Why did we have to live under Portuguese rule for another 14 years, they have now to answer. Thanks to the military services. Goa’s freedom fighters and freedom fighters from around the country, they forced them to send military forces to Goa,” Sawant said.
According to the reports, the statement made by Mr Sawant did not go well with the followers of Nehru causing an uproar. A former State Election Commissioner Mr Prabhakar Timble came in the defence of Nehru saying that, Nehru Sacrificed a lot for the Independence of India and that he should not be blamed.
“Jawaharlal Nehru spent around nine years in jail (aggregate of 3259 days); (is an) acclaimed internationally as statesman, gave us Discovery of India, History of World Civilisations, laid the foundations of modern India (and was a) strong crusader of science, technology and scientific temper, committed to democratic and secular values, the architect of NAM (Non-Aligned Movement), Chacha Nehru for children, thinker, giant intellectual, unified India,”, a former State Election Commissioner said.
The others also pointed out that an armed annexation of Goa was contemplated only after all diplomatic efforts failed. “Portugal is a founding member of NATO (which considers an attack on a single member state as an attack on all of them). The moment India became independent, Goa’s issue was raised in NATO and thereafter in the security council. Nehru’s fight was convincing the international community that Goa should belong to India,” Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar explained.
“What complicated this further was Portuguese never considered Goa as their colony – always as their [integral] part and therefore a necessary component of their sovereignty. Next problem was how to tackle the security council resolution brought by the US to declare India an aggressive nation. This was tackled with the help of the Soviet Union who vetoed the resolution,” he added.
A state Congress president Mr Girish Chodankar said that “It is easy for them to make statements standing here today. They do not know what the situation was back then because their parent organisation (referring to the RSS) was not involved in the freedom movement. Even today they are looking at the issue from a British perspective.”