Reviving its movement for special status for Goa, convenor of Goa’s Movement for Special Status (GMSS) Prajal Sakhardande on Saturday demanded a total freeze on population of the tiny coastal State to protect its identity, its scarce land resources and its environment.
The movement is backed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Minister Alina Saldanha whose late husband Matanhy Saldanha had initiated the movement in 2008.
Addressing a press conference in the city on Saturday after a meeting of the group attended by Ms. Saldanha, Mr. Sakhardande said that people of Goa or the GMSS was not against migrants but Goa certainly had reached its saturation point.
“The people of Goa demand a Special Status under Article 371 of the Constitution as in Himachal Pradesh and the North Eastern States of India,” he said.
Articulating the demands of the movement, he said it was for “no sale or transfer of land to individuals who are not of Goan origin” and protection of the age-old pre-Portuguese institutions like “Gaunkari or Communicades (village land communes) which are self sustainable.”
GMSS leaders said they would go ahead with the demand unmindful of the recent rejection of a motion on “Special Status” for Goa under Article 471 tabled by Rajya Sabha MP from Goa Shanataram Naik of Congress by the House.
General Secretary of GMSS John Lobo warned the Centre not to take the people of Goa for granted in order to appease the vested interests and powerful lobbies who intend to perennially exploit the State and its people.
The GMSS pointed out that the demand was recently taken up with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Ms. Saldanha in right earnest.