Three fishermen from Calangute-Candolim complained of being assaulted by MLA Agnelo Fernandes’ brother Lourenco at the instigation of the MLA, a charge refuted by Agnelo Fernandes who claimed that his brother was assaulted by the fishermen.
Trouble broke out in Candolim when officials of the Fisheries Department went to erect a sign board at the Fisheries Department jetty which has turned into a bone of contention between the traditional fishermen for whom it was constructed and the tourism boat operators who find it very convenient for their operations.
As the water sports operators had captured the jetty meant for the traditional fishermen, the matter was taken up with Fisheries Minister Joaquim Alemao who directed the Fisheries Department to provide the jetty for the fishermen and accordingly the officials had gone to the site on Wednesday along with traditional fishermen to erect the board.
However, according to Nazareth Lopes from Candolim and Reginald Silveira and Augustine Lobo from Calangute, MLA Agnelo Fernandes who was present at the site instigated the crowd to assault them by urging the crowd to assault them by allegedly insinuating that people from Calangute were trying to have their way in Candolim.
The trio in their complaint to the police have named Lourenco Fernandes and seven others as their assailants. They also claimed that the assailants damaged the Fisheries Department’s vessel.
Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott General Secretary Matanhy Saldanha condemned the incident and accused the MLA of preventing government servants from carrying out their duty. He asserted that the jetty by right belongs to the fishermen as it was erected for them.
Agnelo Fernandes’ bette noire and former Sarpanch of Candolim Joseph Sequeira also condemned the incident and said it does not augur well for Goa’s image to have a MLA instigating mob violence and recalled that the then Fisheries Minister Sanjay Bandekar had inaugurated the jetty when he was the Sarpanch.
However, Agnelo Fernandes refuted all charges and said that he had visited the site only because he was told that there was tension there and added that fearing that the situation would go out of hand, he had called the police to maintain law and order.
While dismissing Matanhy and Joseph as persons rejected by the electorate, he alleged that his opponents were trying to divide the people of the constituency on the basis of village boundaries by making this incident appear to be a rivalry between the villagers of Candolim and Calangute.