RSS to oppose Goa’s heritage fest

Updated - September 16, 2016 09:34 am IST

Published - June 01, 2016 12:00 am IST - PANAJI:

Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party-led State government of pampering anti-nationalistic tendencies, Goa chief of Rashtriya Swayanvsevak Sangh (RSS) Subhash Velingkar on Tuesday threatened to actively protest against the Fontainhas Heritage Festival (FHF), an annual event in the city, if the government decided to go ahead with its plans.

Mr. Velingkar who is also convenor of Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM), a body spearheading cause of regional languages and opposing government grants to English medium primary schools, said at a Press conference here the festival was a revival of a “pro-Portuguese” cultural event and he would oppose it.

He said it was unfortunate that it was backed by a BJP-supported panel of councillors in the City Corporation of Panaji.

“Why is the BJP supporting such anti-national things?” Mr. Velingkar asked.

The Fontainhas heritage festival was started in 2000 when the BJP was first in power. It was described as promotion of Goa's unique diverse culture. Even then some of the freedom fighters who had participated in Goa’s freedom struggle had opposed the festival.

In 2002 following the controversy, some RSS workers and other sympathisers, including some freedom fighters, allegedly vandalised Portuguese road signage which were installed in the Fontainhas area as part of the event. Mr. Velingkar has promised to repeat that if the BJP government attempted to organise the event once again.

Fontainhas is a part of the city’s old Latin quarter and the festival celebrated the fusion of Goan and Portuguese food, music, culture and architecture.

“ This is independent Goa. There is no business remembering the Portuguese colonists. Those who committed atrocities should not be honoured here,” Mr. Velingkar said.

Meanwhile, BBSM has decided to intensify its agitation against government grants to Arch Diocese primary schools in English medium.

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