Panaji: Goans who have opted for Portuguese citizenship, using a unique Portuguese nationality clause, should be punished, members of a freedom fighters association in Goa have said.
They have also threatened to disrupt a heritage festival proposed to be held by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the state capital’s picturesque Latin quarter.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Daman and Diu Freedom Fighters Association President Shyam Sunder Nagvekar and other members demanded the closure of the Portuguese consulate in Goa, which is the forwarding agency for the Portuguese citizenship applications from natives of Goa.
“Portugal is still trying to interfere in internal affairs of Goa and India. We want punishment for Goans who have opted for the Portuguese citizenship. Dual citizenship is a threat to security of the state,” freedom fighter and poet Naguesh Karmali said.
Goa was one of the oldest colonies of Portugal and was liberated by the Indian Army from the colonial yoke in 1961. After liberation, all Goan natives were granted Indian citizenship by the union home ministry through a common notification.
However, the departing Portuguese sought not to completely snip their links with the former colony by allowing those who lived in Goa during the Portuguese regime to register their birth in Portugal and avail of citizenship and Portuguese travel identity documents.
The privilege was later extended to two more generations of Goans.
Over the years, nearly 200,000 Goans are estimated to have opted for Portuguese citizenship and at the same time retained their Indian citizenship, creating a unique crisiss.
According to the union home ministry, an authority will soon be set up in Goa to examine the citizenship issue on a case to case basis.
Nagvekar has demanded that the Portuguese consulate itself be shut down so that no more Goans opt for Portuguese citizenship.
“Portuguese consulate should be shut down. British and French too ruled India, but they never acted like Portugal once they left,” Nagvekar said.
The freedom fighters’ association members also threatened to disrupt an Indo-Portuguese heritage festival proposed by the BJP in the Latin quarter in the city, claiming it was promoting Portuguese culture.
“We will disrupt it like we did last time. We do not want promotion of Portuguese culture in Goa,” Karmali said.