THE STATE OF GOA

**************DEVACHEA NAVAN ANI GOEMCARANCHEA MANNANK******************* This blog is an attempt to delve into the traditions, heritage, culture, lore and ambience that spawned an enigma. A state of mind. And to perchance perform a perfunctory probe into the psyche of the Goemcar. ************************************************************************************************* GOEMCAR: Any person anywhere in the world - Goemcar rogtacho!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Moira - Que bono?

Comment:

I had intended posting further suggestions regarding the ills that are infecting and affecting the Christian populace in India.

However, matters closer to home have gripped my attention. And because this incident too has a connective vein, that of cowards and bullies, I shall permit myself to digress.

I have always believed that all bullies, cyber or otherwise, are cowards. Whenever they think they can get away with it, they will, well, bully. But stand up to this lot and they turn tail.

The spectacle that is making headlines in the village, at the moment, best illustrates this. I do not know the specifics of Venita Coelho's battle. I understand that she is waging a war against perceived illegalities being committed in Moira. Construction and its planning has always been a hot potato for Goan villages.

Communidade lands have borne the brunt and been usurped since 'Liberation' by the Government, its flunkeys and functionaries and their chamchas and chelas, who bank on political patronage to ride roughshod over local resentment.

I do not know whether Venita is right in this particular instance. I can only go by what I read and hear. And at the moment the water is still muddied. I have been 'privy' to many a similar scenario, I mean the tamasha in the Panchayat, where the supporters of one faction strong arm the opposition into retreat. And it can seem and at times be an extremely hairy situation.

I do not blame the niz ganvcar menfolk of Moira, who I presume made up the majority of the catholic men present, for not making a spirited stand. They considered discretion the better part of valour. It is far better to live to fight another day . Though from what I hear, besides other notables known for their natterings, there was at least one tough lone wolf amongst the gathered. So why did these seasoned do or die-ers not intervene? Is the whole thing not as kosher as one would want it to be? Are there wheels within wheels? Is there something we are not aware of? Something that made those present pause? Was it all not black and white?

I do not know. I want to know.

In any case nobody ought to point fingers and blame anybody. For not intervening, I mean. No one knows how one would react under fire until one actually is being fired upon.

I would caution Venita and her band of brave lady 'zuzaris' to make absolutely certain that they are 'whiter than white'. Because when one takes on a monolith of vested interests, one can always expect to be subjected to microscopic scrutiny and if there are any chinks in one's armour , these will be exploited and used against. When they are challenged and obstructed, the thwarted will zero on every minor and petty infringement by the activists and exploit these weaknesses.

I do not know if Venita had the locus standi to address the gathering. She claims she had and has furnished details to back her membership of the Gram Sabha.

To most of those affected, this was a foray into terra incognita. Their baptism of fire. If they persist in this 'guerre', there will be much more of the same. But in the end truth will always.... or as they say in Bharat, satyameva jayanti.

Marie Yvonne and James are niz Moidecars. Reis sounds as if he has been around for some time too. Why did these three hector Venita? What was their reason and rationale? Is there another angle to the equation? The three should be approached for an explanation. Unfettered fulminations against them will result in reticence and we will not get the full story. There is a golden thread that runs through most of the world's legal systems and that is, everyone is innocent till proven otherwise.

It is of utmost importance for all to ensure that there is no settling of personal scores. There has already been a hint of this.

In the interest of fair play and in order to secure as near as possible universal consensus, individual duels must not be permitted to be aired in any public forum or fora that is or are formed to secure the interests of Moira.

And though I have myself been, many a time, in straits where I have heartily condemned our elected representatives, they are whether we like it or not, OUR elected ones. We have put them where they are. The people have spoken. And if they fault and falter the people must deal with them. At the ballot box. Ranting and raging against them and trying to outshout them at public meetings is not the way forward.

Convince the villagers of Moira, that someone else is more suitable for the job. And if you can not, then accept the verdict of the people. Or else you put yourself in danger of being anti democracy. For however much we may like to think that we alone are in the right and that we alone have all the answers, and that it is all the others who are completely and utterly wrong and untrustworthy; history has proven that the will of the populace, enigmatic and eccentric though it may appear, is indubitably and inevitably right.

Democracy is the worst amongst the forms of governance, bar the rest.

Being out of touch with the facts on the ground I would accept the judgement of only two persons. Dr Teotonio De Souza and Leroy Veloso. If these two state that Venita has been wronged, that will be good enough for me.

In these times of turmoil we must stand shoulder to shoulder and gather together all good men and women of my village.

The time is nigh for all to come to the aid of nossa terra.

Amchem bhangarachem Moidem.

Sincerely

Xanno Moidecar

Activist attends meet, lands in police station

The Moira gram sabha on Sunday witnessed chaotic scenes, as scriptwriter-activist Venita Coelho was forcibly bundled out of the meeting by the police.According to reports, Ms Coelho had to bear the brunt of the wrath of Moira Sarpanch Advocate Raghuvir Bagker, when she questioned him about illegal constructions and development of the village.When Ms Coelho questioned the sarpanch “What has happened to the 20 years development plan of the village”, sarpanch’s supporters started shouting that Ms Coelho’s name is not on the electoral roll. “Hence Ms Coelho cannot participate in the gram sabha proceedings,” stated a supporter of the sarpanch.The supporters even went to the extent of threatening Ms Coelho in the presence of all the panchas that she would have to face dire consequences if she intervenes in the affairs of the panchayat.Sarpanch Bagker immediately called the police and ordered them in writing to “Remove Vinita Coelho as she is not the member of the gram sabha”.Upon receipt of written instructions, the police physically lifted Ms Coelho and took her to the Mapusa Police Station. Ms Coelho was detained for 3 hours between 12 pm and 3 pm.Speaking to Herald, Ms Coelho condemned the act of police and stated that she had told the police that she is a resident of Moira and her name is on the electoral roll.“But the police did not listen to me, instead lifted and brought me to the Mapusa police station. I was treated like a criminal,” said Ms Coelho.“In fact, I had asked for police protection in advance fearing that sarpanch’s supporters may assault me as I am fighting on the issues of illegal constructions and mega projects, which are coming up in the village,” she added.“But police in spite of protecting me, prohibited me from participating in the gram sabha at the behest of the sarpanch. Police did not take any action against the rowdy villagers in the gram sabha,” complained Ms Coelho.Since Mapusa PI C L Patil was not present, Ms Coelho was asked to wait till he arrived. PSI Chandrakant Gawas, who was heading the police force present at the gram sabha said that she had not been arrested but admitted that the police had forcibly brought her to the police station.Speaking to Herald, Police Inspector C L Patil said that they have acted as per the written instructions of the Sarpanch. “Ms Coelho was detained at the police station to avoid any untoward incident at the gram sabha,” said Mr Patil.When asked about the contents of the complaint, he said that the complaint was that Ms Coelho was not a member of the gram sabha, but was insisting on disrupting the proceedings.He also said that he has been informed that police saw Ms Coelho had been surrounded by a threatening group of people and removed her from the venue for her own safety.A member of Moira Citizens Action Committee (MAC) Diana Jambonathan said that Indian Constitution has given the freedom of sarpanch to all the citizens.“But this right is being suppressed in Goa, whoever dares to speak the truth is penalised. The action of police is deplorable,” said Ms Jambonathan.Tanya Mendonca of the MAC said that this was a conspiracy to prevent uncomfortable issues being raised, while Veronica Mascarenhas said that the gram sabha meeting continued after Ms Coelho was ejected, despite protests from the members.“The Sarpanch even claimed that Ms Coelho was evicted as she is not a member, and that a resolution was passed to that effect. No such resolution was passed — it would be illegal in any case — and the panchayat took advantage of the pandemonium after this incident,” Ms Mascarenhas.Attempts to contact Sarpanch proved futile as his mobile phone was switched off.Ms Coelho has subsequently filed a counter-complaint with the police against the sarpanch, alleging that she was illegally and forcibly evicted and that the entire gram sabha be declared null and void. She has also complained that she was threatened during the meeting.Ms Coelho is a member of the Goa Bachao Abhiyan and Moira Action Committee, which has been fighting against alleged illegalities in various construction projects in the Moira panchayat area.

From the Herald




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