Goans will not lose citizenship upon registering birth in Portuguese registry, maintains CM

Maintaining that his government certified Benaulim MLA Caitan Silva as a citizen of India, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said the Home Ministry order determining the Goa Vikas Party member as a Portuguese national was a “fraud”.

Mr. Parrikar further clarified that a Goan could not automatically lose Indian citizenship upon registering his birth in Portuguese registry. “Portuguese law may give Goans [those born before the State’s colonial liberation and their next two generations] right of citizenship. But that does not mean their Indian citizenship is surrendered automatically. [Besides, I think that to officially obtain] Portuguese citizenship, you have to take an oath and renounce your Indian citizenship.”

Asserting that he had not renounced his Indian citizenship and continued to hold an Indian passport, Mr. Silva has indicated that he will move the Delhi High Court against the MHA order. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress have sought the resignation of the Benaulim MLA. The Congress maintained that Mr. Silva was a Portuguese national and his new registry would have a direct effect on his MLA status. “Mr. Silva has gone in voluntarily for attaining Portuguese nationality,” said party spokesperson and former Union Law Minister Ramakant Khalap.

Mr. Khalap clarified, however, that the extant issue would not affect the thousands of Goans working abroad under foreign citizenship, who, he said, were “not interested in seeking Constitutional positions like the MLA concerned”.

“The Congress assures the thousands of Goans working abroad that the party stands with them in every respect and they need not panic. We will ensure that the false propaganda and motivated statements generated by the BJP will not affect them,” said Mr. Khalap.