Nearly 150 parents demanding government grants for English medium of schools were disbursed by the police when they gathered near Chief Minister Digambar Kamat’s residence at Malbhat on Thursday morning.
While around 30 of them were detained by the police the remaining stayed put outside the District Police headquarters demanding that they too be arrested. Amongst those detained were former Margao Municipal Council Chairperson Savio Coutinho and Maria Moraes leading the PTAs from Benaulim village.
Executive Committee members of the PTAs from Goa were scheduled to meet in Margao on Thursday morning and when they got to know of education department’s decision to maintain status quo, they gathered outside the Chief Minister’s residence.
The parents refused Digambar’s offer to meet a delegation and as they refused to move away, police resorted to force to disperse them. Some of them walked into the police van which brought them to the police station while the others came to the police station walking.
Till around 1 pm no official statement was forthcoming from the police though Margao Town Police Inspector Santosh Gaonkar said the people inside the police station premises were detained under section 151 and would be produced before the District Magistrate.
Parents refused to give their names to the police to complete the formalities on grounds that they be first informed of the charges pressed against them.
Even as the deadlock continued, Nationalist Congress Party MLA Micky Pacheco arrived at the police station and was closeted with Santosh Gaonkar and later with Advocate Radharao Gracias with whom he reportedly discussed the next strategy.
Speaking to Goa Chronicle.Com, Micky said the demonstration was not part of his agitation and said he too would take on the government both in the courts as well as on the streets over the same demand.
Radharao was heard advising the detained parents not to leave the police station till their demand was met and he also suggested that a bigger crowd be gathered by evening to mount pressure on the government. Subsequently, those gathered outside began contacting various people to increase their numbers.
The Machiavellian mind of Radharao was at work when he suggested giving a call for Salcete bandh on 10th May, the date when the civic reception to celebrate Digambar Kamat’s son’s wedding is scheduled.