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CHRONOLOGY OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY UNLEASHED BY THE INDIAN UNION AGAINST THE TERRITORIES OF GOA, DAMÃO AND DIU

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Francisco Monteiro

 

Subsequent to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington; a lot has been said and a lot has been spoken of the terrorism which has come to devastate the world, but this is a good occasion to speak of terrorist actions promoted and assisted by the Indian Union in Goa, Damão and Diu between 1954 and 1961; the Indian Union which hoisted itself to be a pacifist and democratic country did not behave as one, therefore we take the initiative to present some facts which cannot be denied by anyone, because terrorism is every criminal attack on life and property of civilian population in any part of the world we live in.  Attention of the readers is drawn to the fact that only actions aimed at civilian targets are mentioned here and not those against police outposts, military units or other defence installations.

The Indian Union supported the establishment of armed groups, giving them full financial, logistic and armament support; one of the organisations that received the greatest support was the Azad Gomantak Dal which unleashed numerous attacks at various places in Goa.  The armed groups acted from bases situated in Indian territory and under cover of Indian police forces. 

During the initial years (1954-1957) of the campaign against Goa, Damão and Diu, the government of the Indian Union used the technique of destroying all economic and productive means, telegraph and telephone lines, road, water and rail transport, so as to choke the economic activity of the three territories, thinking that thus they were creating conditions for a general uprising of the population; but these intentions were totally frustrated by correct measures taken by the government in Goa which rapidly proved capable of improving living conditions in Goa and a good status for Goans, Damenses and Diuenses.  

Following is a list of main terrorist activities promoted by the Indian Union in the territories of Goa, Damão and Diu, in chronological order:

09 Feb 1955: A primary school was attacked and vandalised and the teacher, Vasudeo Bodke suffered various injuries;

12 Mar 1955: Telegraphic lines were severed and barricades placed on roads to obstruct traffic;

27 Mar 1955: There was an attempt to destroy the Palácio de Idalcão (Adil Khan Palace) in Pangim by means of a time-bomb which was discovered before exploding;

27 May 1955: The control post at Salém was attacked; a guard and a civilian relative of a guard were injured in the crossfire.  The civilian succumbed to his injuries;

29 May 1955: The Regedor of Ibrampur was violently assaulted;

16 Jun 1955: Attempt to destroy the railway tunnel n° 10, which was seriously damaged;

30 Jun 1955: Detonation of an explosive device on railroad bridge n° 120 between Sanvordém and Kalai; the bridge was seriously damaged;

30 Jun 1955: Attack on a mine in Surla (Bicholim);

23 Jul 1955: Custódio Fernandes was shot down in Savoi Verem in Ponda district, alleged to be a Portuguese informant;

01 Sep 1955: The Consulate General of India in Pangim was closed down, degrading diplomatic relations between Portugal and India;

12 Jan 1956: Four armed persons, attired in uniforms identical to those of the Portuguese police, entered into Portuguese territory and attacked the residence of Godolfo Cruz, who defended himself by shooting, forcing the assailants to retreat to the Indian Union;

14 Jan 1956: A group of terrorists arrived from the Indian Union, assaulted a residence in Chandel, robbing money and jewelry.  Subsequently they set fire to the control post, which was closed;

25 Jan 1956: A group of 20 to 25 armed terrorists, attired in uniforms identical to those of the Portuguese police, entered into Portuguese territory in the region of Sodo Mopa, on the way to a mine belonging to Sadananda Borcar, and attacked a jeep belonging to the firm V.S. Salgãocar Irmão Ldª, killing the driver Sripada Dessai and injuring two other employees Alaudin Xeque and Atmarama Purxotama Mandrecar; 

29 Jan 1956: A group of 20 to 25 armed terrorists, attired in uniforms identical to those of the Portuguese police, entered into Portuguese territory, where they attacked a jeep belonging to the firm V.S. Salgãocar Irmão Ldª, killing the driver and injuring three other employees of that firm;

30 Jan 1956: A group of terrorists came from the Indian Union crossed the frontier and effected armed robbery in isolated houses at various villages in Satari district;

08 Feb 1956: A manganese mine in Talaulim in Sanguém district was destroyed. The equipment was set on fire;

08 Feb 1956: An attempt was made to set the Mapuça tribunal on fire by means of a time-bomb, which was discovered before exploding;

08 Feb 1956: When a fisherman of Brancavará - Diu, was fishing within a mile of the coast, in Portuguese territorial waters, his vessel was boarded upon by an armed launch of the Indian Union.  The fisherman was violently assaulted;

08 Feb 1956: A launch of the Indian Union, having departed from Coileque - Damão, entered into Portuguese waters and captured a fishing vessel which was taken to that Indian locality;

11 Feb 1956: A police jeep which was out of order was being towed by a civilian vehicle belonging to the firm Mangaljee, was attacked at around 11:45pm, at Mulgão, between Bicholim and Assonorá, by a group of terrorists who had come in from the Indian Union.  The assailants opened fire with rifles and automatic pistols on the vehicle that was towing the police vehicle, and tossed a grenade which failed to explode. The civilian jeep received 4 shots on the windscreen and the police vehicle had several bullet-holes in the rear.

16 Feb 1956: A group of terrorists who had come in from the Indian Union attempted an assault on the house of G.R. Naique, situated in Quindolembaga - Canácona.  When they sensed being discovered, the invaders sought refuge in the Indian territory;

02 Mar 1956: A railway motor-trolley, which was transporting company personnel, was intercepted by a mound of stones placed on the rails near the railway boundary mark 46/16.  The occupants, among who was a radio-telegraphist guardsman Vitorino Queirós, were fired upon by terrorists armed with rifles and automatic pistols and attired in uniforms identical to those of the Portuguese police.  The guardsman Queirós defended himself until he ran out of ammunition.  When he could no longer return fire, the assailants approached him and shot him with a bullet to the head from point-blank range.  The terrorists retreated to the Indian Union carrying with them an amount of 15,000 rupees, which was meant to pay personnel, and the guardsman's weapons. The engine driver of the trolley and the paymaster of the company were injured.

13 Mar 1956: A carriage of a train, which was moving between Sanvordém and Kalai, was derailed by a time-bomb.  Two military personnel and several workers from Chougulo's mine were injured, one of who, Mr Tony Fernandes later died;

05 Apr 1956: At around 3:00pm, when on his way to his cashew-plantation in Rivona in the company of two individuals, a Goan, Suriaji Rau Dessai was surprised by four members of the Indian police close to this locality, and dragged to the Indian Union;

30 Apr 1956: In the morning hours, a Goan, Dornã Gopal Sauntó, working in his field at Golpem, very close to the frontier, was assaulted and beaten up by the border control guard of the Indian Union, Ananta Dactulo Berquecar, in the service of the border control at Sinquervale;

02 May 1956: In the morning hours, a lady whose name is unknown but known to be married in Cossoi (Indian Union) wanted to come to Goa, via Sinquervale, with the intention of visiting her family and being already around 200 metres within Portuguese territory, was beaten up and thrown to the ground by a member of the Indian police who came chasing after her, and removed from her pieces of areca and a piece of clothing;

09 May 1956: At around 9:00am, when 60 year-old Baji Sauló Pompolit, resident of Alorna, was ploughing with his two bulls, was assaulted and robbed by four Indian individuals who took away his animals. The perpetrators of the robbery were later identified as being border control guards of the Indian Union;

18 Oct 1956: An attempt was made to destroy the bridge at Poinguinim.  The bridge was left with a large crater rendering it unfit for use by traffic; 

19 Oct 1956: An attempt was made to destroy the bridge at Pissonem.  Traffic was officially suspended for three days;

20 Dec 1956: A petrol station near Sanquelim was set on fire;

12 Jan 1957: Two barges belonging to V.S. Dempo & Bros suffered major damage as a result of bombs exploding within them;

19 Jan 1957: An attempt was made to destroy the bridge at Uskinim, near Cuncolim;

19 Feb 1957: In the early hours of the morning, mechanically-powered mines at Sirigão, belonging to Chougulo Bros, were destroyed.  The electric power station and other equipment suffered major damage.  The damage was estimated to be more than twenty lakh rupees;

Various telegraphic lines which linked the district of Goa to the Indian Union were severed successively, by entities of that country in 1955; the last disconnection was effected when the cable on the northern frontier was severed on the night of 10/11 September 1955, cutting off all telegraphic communications completely.

The C.T.T. administration of Goa protested to their equals in Bombay for quite some time, without result. 

On the 23 May 1958, the Director of Posts and Telegraphs at New Delhi communicated to the C.T.T. administration of Goa and agreed to reciprocal facilities to maintain telegraphic communication between Goa and Belgaum and requested to suggest a day and the hour to the Director of Posts at Bombay, when our personnel could come in contact with Indian personnel at the frontier, to proceed with the repairs to the lines.  The Portuguese C.T.T. made an appointment for 6 June at 9:00am.  The Minister for Foreign Affairs informed that effectively, the necessary work had taken place, and soon after telegraphic communications were restored.   With respect to Damão and Diu, these communications continued to be broken off.

From 03 April 1958, the Indian Govt, confirming news that were previously announced on Radio and the Indian press, partly lifted restrictions imposed in 1955 on Indian nationals and residents, permitting them to come to Goa, Damão and Diu, which they were deprived of since the removal of the Indian Consulate in this city (Pangim), at the beginning of blockade and closure of the frontiers. 

There was no official communication received about the decision of Prime Minister Nehru authorising the abolition of "permits", but the extraordinary number of immigrants who since that date presented themselves at the frontiers to enter into the three districts of this State, absolutely confirm the above information.

It must be stressed that the actions carried out in the interior of Goa, Damão and Diu were accomplished by groups or isolated individuals who came from the Indian Union.

 

Francisco Monteiro
Lisboa, Portugal, June 8, 2002

(Translated from the original Portuguese transcript by Gabriel de Figueiredo)

 

[TGF:  While TGF accepts that these incidents may have occurred, the author of this post offers no references re: the incidents, some of which are very vague in their description.

There is no doubt that many violent anti-social elements conducted raids into Goa from just outside the borders.  As there was an Indian blockade of Goa in effect, at the time these raids were conducted, it is reasonable to assume that such actions had the tacit support of the Indian Government. It was, after all in the interest of the Indian Government to try dislodge the Portuguese from Goa.....one way or another.

What however remains in question is the veracity of some of the above incidents. Until further details are forthcoming, there remains the distinct possibility that the above incidents did happen OR, that some are a figment of some very fertile imagination.

There is one story (heard first hand by TGF) which might make interesting reading.  A former (Luso-Indian) Chief Minister of Goa, was also a mine owner. He was accosted by a group of bandits ( many later claiming to be Freedom Fighters & one rising in the ranks of post-1961 Law Enforcement in Goa) who demanded dynamite from the mine owner. He was told what his choices were. 

Anyway, some of the unexploded dynamite was traced back to the mine-owner who was jailed by the Portuguese. The smart mine-owner became an instant Freedom Fighter. On the other side of the coin, is how the mine owner secured his quick release from custody. He donated a large sum of money for the suppression of the Freedom movements in Angola & Moçambique!

TGF understands that one side's Terrorist is another side's Freedom Fighter. Even so, TGF opposes violence. Violence, whatever its reasoning, hurts, maims and kills  innocent people.  There is NO justification for violence. None, whatsoever.

Just imagine, what our world would have been if  nations and people would spend on its people and infrastructure, all the money they spend on war and violence.

And we call ourselves: Homo Sapiens?

Really?

TGF
June 11, 2002

====== addendum

June 18, 2002

TGF received a very hostile e-mail from XV in Portugal demanding that the above TGF comment be removed and an apology be tendered to the writer Francisco Monteiro. Of course, TGF will do no such thing. TGF stands by its position that material which is undocumented remain so! 

We know that terrorist (nationalist) activities took place within the the boundaries of Goa. These were overtly and covertly supported by India. We also know that such acts of violence were put down by the Portuguese Police in Goa with equal vehemence. Most of the Portuguese Police in Goa were Goans!

TGF does not support any acts of violence especially those on civilian targets.

Violent actions against civilian targets are acts of terrorism. The government of the day has the duty to protect civilian subjects from the violent ones. They may use force to do so. This force is justifiable as an act of self defence. Important to note that the force used in self defence must be proportionate. It cannot be indiscriminate and considered  lawful or just at the same time. The force used by the Portuguese who fired upon the peaceful satyagrahis entering (albeit illegally) Goa in 1954, was disproportionate and hence morally wrong.

The end can never justify the means. Otherwise we'd be saying that Violent activities in Kashmir or Ireland or in the Middle East can be justified! ........Never!

Mr. Francisco Monteiro is a good friend of ours. We respect him for his hard work and his tremendous love for Goa. Even so, until Mr. Monteiro references these alleged incidents, TGF will continue to query their veracity.

Besides, many of the acts of violence which took place in Goa, have been documented. No need to dwell upon the (as yet) undocumented ones!

On June 18, 2002,  a number of individuals are to be honoured in Goa. Vide part of their own CVs ( as published in  O Heraldo, Panjim Goa, June 18, 2002 )

 

*Govind B Naik: joined the Azad Gomantak Dal in June 1955 and worked under the leadership of Vishwanath Lawande in carrying out nationalistic activities. Naik alongwith his camp leader Dattaram Dessai fired on Portuguese Police at Majali in Canacona, dynamited bridges at Ardhafond, Uddyaval and Pissonern, attacked trains at Chandor and damaged roads.

*Madhukar Talaulikar: participated in raid on Cuncolim Police station on April 13, 1955 along with his associates

*Bablo Pednekar:  participated in raids on Honda Police outposts

 *Janardhan M Kerkar: was arrested on February 18, 1957 when his group tried to dynamite water supply line at Curti, Ponda

*Gurudas Dhawalikar: was arrested while attempting to dynamite the water supply line at Curti Ponda by Camilo Pereira and Suresh A Kerkar

*Chandrakant L Prabhu: participated in various armed actions in South Goa, important being raid on police post at Partagal and capture of Surla Village in July 1955 along with Prabhakar Sinari, Krishnarao Rane, Krishna Mainkar and other AGD Commandos

*Shrikant M Harmalkar :was arrested on January 4, 1960 at Vasco da Gama where explosives were seized from him

 

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