“Nobody will be allowed to take the law into their hands”

Special Correspondent

PANAJI: Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Monday said the government would not allow anybody to take the law into their hands and would ensure the safety of tourists.

The activist-groups and political parties under the banner of the Goa Movement Against SEZs (GMAS) had on Sunday asked the tourists to cancel their holidays beyond Friday and leave the State as they were planning to intensify the agitation immediately after the Christmas celebrations. They warned “it could take an ugly turn.”

The Chief Minister, who returned to Goa on Monday evening from New Delhi, where he had gone to attend the National Development Council meeting, told journalists that Goa was known for its hospitality and the government was duty-bound to ensure that whoever came to Goa would go back with sweet memories. He was accompanied by Tourism Minister Micky Pacheco and Home Minister Ravi Naik.

Expressing shock over the statements of GMAS leader Matanhy Saldanha, Mr. Kamat said: “It is unbecoming of a leader who had been himself a Tourism Minister a couple of years back.”

The Home Minister said the government had decided to beef up security during the week-long Christmas and New Year festivities by getting three battalions of paramilitary forces from the Centre.

Recalling his statement at the Goa Republic Day celebrations last week over the SEZ projects, the Chief Minister said he had made it clear that the government was seized of the problem and it would not take any decision against the wishes of the people. But to take a decision after examining all the aspects of the issue, he needed time.

“When I even stated that the government will take a decision by the end of next month, I see no logic why Mr. Saldanha and his colleagues should make such a statement which would damage the reputation of Goa .”

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