Goa freedom fighters oppose patronage to English
Panaji: Freedom fighters in Goa have threatened to boycott state celebrations of the Goa Revolution Day June 18 in protest against the government`s decision to allow financial grants to English-medium schools.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference here Monday, spokesperson for the All Goa Freedom Fighters Association (AGFFA) Nagesh Karmali said they will also boycott other state-organised functions June 18, which is remembered as the day when freedom fighters in 1946 gave a call for direct action against the nearly 450-year-old Portuguese colonial rule.
"We will not participate in the June 18 function organised annually by the Goa government. The decision to allow grants to English-language (schools) will kill the regional languages and will enslave us to the colonial heritage," Karmali said.
"We will wait outside the Azad maidan (where the martyr`s memorial is housed) in protest and not be part of the official function," he said.
Criticising Chief Minister Digambar Kamat for "succumbing to blackmail" by some "denationalised" legislators and allowing the party high command in Delhi to decide on the medium of instruction (MoI) policy in Goa, Karmali said: "Kamat has no spine. If the Portuguese were in Goa today, he and these legislators would be still licking the boots of these colonial rulers. This is a denationalised government."
"How can Delhi dictate to a state government on a regional issue concerning the identity of the region," he asked.
Goa`s several thousand freedom fighters have backed the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Mandal (BBSM), which has been demanding a rollback of the Goa government`s decision in May to allow schools using English as MoI to avail government grants.
Until the last week of May, the state government offered aid and grants only to Konkani or Marathi-medium schools.
The Forum for Rights of Children`s Education (FORCE), a parents` front backed by a large section of Catholic politicians and the clergy, has backed English, while the BBSM, supported by a section of the freedom fighters and rightwing protagonists and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have backed both Konkani and Marathi languages as the MoI.
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