Former MLA Matanhy Saldanha has strongly condemned the ugly happenings at Balli on 25th May where two tribal youth were torched to death by hooligans while the police remained mute spectators to the carnage.
In a press statement, Saldanha said the tribal population of Goa is under constant threat and facing severe hardships only because of the prized land in their occupation.
He accused the government of being in cahoots with vested interest to usurp the tribal land and added that this was the reason why the protection envisaged for tribal population under the Protection of Tribal Act is not being implemented in Goa.
“On the one hand the mining lobby is bleeding the tribal population to death by destroying the land and more particularly the forests that they nurtured for centuries due to reckless and most often illegal mining,” he said adding that the government till date has failed to take action against any of the mining firms for violating the laws of the land.
“However, when the tribal population come to the streets to demanding their constitutional right denied to them by the very government that is meant to protect their interest, the government reacts by caning them,” he said.
Saldanha said the suspension of South Goa Collector G P Naik was a mere eyewash and demanded that the Home Minister Ravi Naik should either resign or be sacked for the total failure of the police force on that fateful day.
He said the very fact that the tribal population outnumbered the police force indicated that the information gathering machinery of the police had failed to assess the situation.
Further, he said the police department failed to deploy additional force even after realizing that they were totally outnumbered and he said that the Home Minister Ravi Naik should take the blame for this.
As for the death of the two youngsters, he said it was unfortunate that people had to sacrifice their lives in order to get their just demands met.
“Digambar Kamat actually has lost the moral right to rule over the State as it is has been turned into a government that only reacts when people take to streets,” he said.
He demanded judicial inquiry into the matter and said that the culprits should be booked. At the same time, all the police officers present at the site need to be suspended until the inquiry is complete.
At the same time, Matanhy Saldanha has pledged his support to the struggle of UTTA and all Tribal organizations in Goa.