CANACONA: Stating Speaker/Canacona MLA is putting pressure on police to arrest them GFP Environment Cell Chairman Vikas Bhagat and Congress leader Janardhan Bhandari who were instrumental in locking up PWD (Roads) AE and JE, challenged Ramesh Tawadkar to arrest them over the issue.
Addressing a press conference over the Speaker’s reported press-note that PWD officers should register an FIR against the activists for locking –up them in their offices on Wednesday, stating ‘in a democracy, agitation should be done, but in a proper manner, Bhandari and Bhagat are outdated, and they are doing such things to regain relevance, they need to be arrested for their act’, both Bhagat and Bhandari came hard on Tawadkars previous roles in holding agitations against the government.
Paying condolences to the husband-wife killed in a road accident 3-days ago, GFP Environment Cell Chairman Vikas Bhagat informed an elected panch of Shristhal VP claiming non-beginning of road repair works of 4 roads in his ward had sat on hunger strike. As the officers didn’t pay any heed, we questioned the concerned officers, but the officer refused to give a proper reply. Since we did not get a satisfactory reply, we applied a lock to his cabin; later, PI came and requested to open the lock and have an open discussion.
The panch Ramu Naik broke his fast after accepting the assurance given by PWD officers to begin the works before 5th May, and if not, Naik would again sit for an indefinite hunger strike, and we informed them we would lock the entire PWD staff in their offices.
“Thereafter, in a press note, our MLA, who is also GLA Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar, gave a statement that the agitation done is not as per the democratic way. The Speaker also cited so 2-3 incidents where the agitations were not done democratically, and the concerned activists involved in it should be put behind bars. Yes, we had once taken an Asstt. Engineer of PWD in an ambulance to enable the officer to have first-hand experience of how patients taken in an ambulance gets hurt on the bad road- in next 5-8 days, the NH-66 road section at Nagorcem got hot-mixed; yes, we had converted the leaking roof of KTC bus-stand with thatched coconut leaves,; and within next 5 days day, the roof was repaired with new sheets, if we are getting faster results by doing an out-of-box agitation, than we are certainly going to do it again and again and no one can stop us,” he said
Speaking on Speaker, Bhagat asked, ‘”Does this Speaker teaches us Democracy? Let this Speaker remember the UTTA agitation which he led at Balli; thousands of trees were felled and put on the road, Stones were brought on the road, and efforts were made to uproot railway tracks but timely saved by railway staff else thousands of lives would have been lost, thousands of people were held hostages for 5-6 hours during Balli agitation, You’ll have stoned the officers, and in this entire UTTA agitation 2 young lives (one from Canaocna and another from Quepem constituency) were lost,” he said.
“Who is responsible for that? Where was the Democracy then? You had taken political mileage out of that agitation; you became an MLA because of that agitation! Have you given justice to the ST community? Whether you did that agitation by Democracy (lok-sahi). Now you are unwilling to utter a word of UTTA on your lips; just see your background before making allegations against us. We still do not have any criminal cases, we did not make the destruction of any public property, didn’t fall trees, we didn’t hurt the environment, we continue to be with the people and for the people, and if we get justice by doing agitation we will certainly do it, come what may!
‘we are passing a clear message to the Speaker; we do not need to learn Democracy from you. We know what Democracy is, and we are going on the path of Democracy, and till now, we have not used agitations to take personnel nor political mileage,” he said.
They charged, “Whatever agitations you did, you took political and personnel mileages. We also challenge you for a debate on Democracy and dare you to arrest us and put us in Jail; we are not afraid! We had informed PI then, but PI said if a solution can come into discussion, there is no need to file cases; why are you putting pressure on police register complaints? Even today, we challenge Speaker to register FIR and arrest us “.
Bhandari stated the circumstances are already explained as to why it came to such a level of taking a unique agitation, informed, agitations and satyagrahas are part and parcel of democratic rights and values; Our Country is free now, how were got Freedom? Goa got liberation! How? Is it not due to agitations and struggles? How we got Statehood? How we got our State-Language? Is it not through agitations and struggles? And who is bringing us (the people) to that level? Is it, not the government?
“We are telling this 30 % voter elected MLA not to teach us Democracy, first win the confidence of 100% electorate yourself. We are doing this for the people, and if the government was providing/felicitating everything properly (water, electricity, roads, health facilities), there was no need for us to do agitations. Since you are irresponsible and incompetent, we must come on the roads! Our agitations will continue till there are shortcomings; you are free to register cases against us, put us in jails, and hang us, but for the sake of the people of Goa, our Taluka, and our villages, we will continue with our agitations and fear to your threats. We are specifically telling our mlA, without any reason, please refrain from interfering with us; we will not lag behind to target you if you make any mistake!” he said.
Both, later responding to a specific query, said, “if the case is registered, we will do whatever options are available to us as per rule, we may have to take Bail, we will go as per rules, the court will give us justice. Who is Speaker to put us behind bars? Are you trying to control Democracy in Canaocna? We are doing this so that people should get the best good infrastructure, good facilities, etc. Major accidents are taking place in Canaocna,” they said