The mortal remains of Goa tourism minister Matanhy Saldanha were laid to rest at his native village Cansaulim on Saturday.

Mr. Saldanha (64) passed away on Wednesday after suffering a massive cardiac arrest.

The last rites were performed at St Thomas Church in the village where senior leaders were present.

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that it was a tragedy for his family, for the people of Goa and the party.

“More than a politician, he was crusader for people’s right. It is a big loss for us,” Mr. Jaitley said talking to PTI near the Church before participating in the mass.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and his cabinet colleagues were present at Cansaulim since morning as a large number of people thronged to this coastal village, 25 kms away from Panaji.

“It is a big loss for the State of Goa. I have lost a friend, a personal friend,” Mr. Parrikar said.

Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Rev Fr Philip Nery Ferrao was also present for the mass.

Mr. Saldanha who had won the recent election from Cortalim constituency was also a Chairman of National Fishworkers Federation, a national body of traditional fishermen fighting for protection of their rights.