CANACONA: Poinguinim Village Panchayat in Canacona has urged Government of Goa to erect a full-size statue of Goa’s veteran freedom fighter Alfred Afonso on Terekhol fort.
Interestingly, Freedom Fighter Alfred Afonso is better known as Terekhol Veer.
It was a sole incident of bravery during a prolonged Goa freedom struggle when on 15th August 1954, 14 satyagrahis led by 30-year-old Alfred Afonso had captured the Terekhol fort and had hoisted a tricolour flag of India, when Goa still a Colony of Portugal.
In its monthly meeting held on 6th Sept’2023 of Poinguinim Panchayat Body, a resolution in this regard was moved by Deputy Sarpanch Sunil Paingankar, (who himself is the son of a freedom fighter Late Shridhar Paingankar) and was swiftly seconded by Sarpanch Savita Tawadkar, (wife of Goa Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar).
Incidentally, the resolution is passed in the background of the state government’s decision to demolish a plaque honouring Alfred Afonso as well as two martyrs – Tulshidas Balkrishna Hirve (Hirve Guruji) and Sheshnath Wadekar, who were killed by the Portuguese soldiers when they entered Goa on 15th August 1955. ‘The Goa government has now decided to erect two busts of Hirve Guruji and Wadekar, but Goa’s own freedom fighter who is a resident of Poinguinim village in Canacona taluka Alfred Afonso is forgotten.
Poinguinim Panchcyat Body while welcoming government decision to build burst of the two martyrs (Hirve Guruji and Sheshnath Wadekar) who were part of 127 satyagrahis entered Goa from all over India has termed government attitude as unfortunate not to replace demolished Bust of our own Goan Alfred Afonso. Afonso has led a batch of 14 Satyagrahis on 1`5th August 1954, captured the Terekhol Fort m held the fort for one day under captivity, and Afonso hoisterd the Indian Tricolor /Flag on the fort. The next day he was arrested by Portuguese beaten up mercilessly and sentenced to rigorious imprisonment. This bravery of Afonso had become an overall inspiration to rejevunate the whole freedom struggle to later liberate Goa from Portuguese colonialism.
“We, the members of Village Panchayat of Poinguinim village, therefore unanimously demand through this resolution that a full-size statue of Alfred Afonso, hoisting the tricolour flag, be also installed at the venue and pay our respect to the selfless bravery he had performed for our Freedom from the Portuguese colonialism.” The Resolution is passed unanimously
The panchayat body has also resolved to submit memorandums in this regard to the Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant, Archaeology Minister Subhash Phaldesai and Speaker & MLA of Canacona, Ramesh Tavadkar, to pursue and fulfil the demand.-