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Here comes the Big Brother!

I am not surprised by the circular given by the Government-run Culture Centre – Ravindra Bhavan – ‘No criticism of the government ministers, MLAs, VIPS shall be made during the onstage performance at the Ravindra Bhavan in Margao; future booking of the auditorium or other facilities at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, may not be allowed’.

As a political party in Opposition, BJP thrived on criticism and antics to put-down political rivals in particular Congress. In Goa, during the Congress regime, the BJP exploited the medium of ‘Tiatr’ to spread the message of ‘anti-corruption’ & ‘anti-Congress’. Now, however, when the shoe is on the other foot, they find it in bad taste to face the similar criticisms in ‘Tiatrs’. There is no doubt that some of the ‘Tiatrs’ are being funded by politicians who have an axe to grind with the government. But to target all ‘Tiatrs’ is without a doubt an attempt to trample on the fundamental rights of a citizen of our country – to expression and speech.

I am shocked that a claimed-progressive Chief Minister like Manohar Parrikar could allow such subtle fascists atrocities to even emerge in a state like Goa where Freedom of Expression has always been encouraged. I am afraid after ‘Tiatrs’ what would stop the government from putting rules on content to media-houses (some of which can be clearly seen) or on the social media. The people of Goa must oppose this move of the government and fight it tooth and nail.

While it is nice to know that Goa’s ‘Paper Tiger’ Vijai Sardesai has taken up the issue at the on-going Goa Assembly and received support from BJP’s own MLA Vishnu Surya Wagh, I am often skeptical about this MLA’s intent, since it reeks of an action that is playing to the galleries. Like Sardesai’s stand on the ‘Special Status’. He himself has suggested that in order to get the Centre to listen to Goa’s demand, all 40 MLAs should resign and create a constitutional deadlock. But when question by certain sections in the off-line and online media on whether he would resign first to prove his commitment to ‘Special Status’, he remains dumb and deaf.

People must move away from dependency from politicians to fight their issues. There is more power in people. On this issue the people of Goa must unite and support the Tiatrist. I see this a just a start to the ‘Big Brother Watching’ attitude of the BJP.

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