Panaji: A former head of the Congress think tank in Goa Tuesday called for a civil society boycott of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat`s official functions to protest against the latter`s "de-nationalising" policies.
Uday Bhembre, a locally respected Congress ideologue and a former chairman of the state unit`s vichar vibhag (think tank), told a press conference here that by introducing state funding to schools with English language as the medium of instruction (MOI), the Congress-led alliance government in the state was taking forward the de-culturising process put in place by Portuguese colonial rulers for over 450 years.
"We have already begun a social boycott of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat`s official functions because his actions and his policies have been dangerously anti-people and essentially anti-Goa," said Bhembre, a spokesperson for the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Samiti (BBSM), a pro-regional language lobby which is supported by freedom fighters, right wing political parties and a section of the state intelligentsia.
Bhembre, along with former chief minister Shashikala Kakodkar and convenor of the All Goa Freedom Fighters Association (AGFFA) Nagesh Karmali, also announced their collective resignation from the Goa government`s high profile golden jubilee celebrations committee.
The committee was formed by Kamat earlier this year to formulate plans for the celebrations of the golden jubilee of liberation of Goa by the Indian Army from Portuguese rule in 1961.
"Since this government is acting against the wishes of the people, all three of us see no reason why we should be there in the committee. Therefore, we are collectively resigning in protest against the Kamat government`s decision to allow grants to English language schools," Bhembre said.
Until the last week of May, the Goa government offered aid and grants only to Konkani or Marathi-medium schools, until a controversial cabinet decision May 25 allowed English schools to avail the grants.
The Forum for Rights of Children`s Education (FORCE), a parent`s front backed by a large section of Catholic politicians and the clergy has backed English, while the BBSM has backed both Konkani and Marathi languages as the medium of instruction.