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Punjab remembers Karnail Singh Benipal – Martyr of ‘Goa Liberation’ movement, Goa forgets

While a state-level function is being organised to commemorate the martyrdom day of Karnail Singh Benipal – the Punjabi martyr of the Goa Liberation movement in Punjab, the government of Goa has no such plan to commemorate the man who took on the Portuguese soldiers who were firing at the peaceful Satyagraha protesters at the border marching from Pune to Goa – a Portuguese-held territory at that time – and sacrificed his life.

File photo of Karnail Singh

A state-level function to commemorate the martyrdom day of Karnail Singh -the first Punjabi martyr of the Goa liberation movement – will be organised at his native village in Punjab’s Ludhiana district on Wednesday reported a national news agency.

Karnail Singh Benipal was born in Issru, Punjab and was involved in the various student movements. Inspired by Bhagat Singh, Uddam Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai and the other revolutionaries he initially sought out the revolutionary manner of agitation. He staged plays and gave revolutionary speeches at the schools where he taught.

In 1955, When the Goa Vimochan Sahayak Samiti was founded in Pune, they gave a call to all Indians to join in the Satyagraha march that was planned.

The march was planned from Pune to Goa. As the group approached the Goan border, on August 15, 1955, the Portuguese soldiers opened fire. Seeing that the people in the forefront of the march were getting shot at, Benipal ran forward and challenged the Portuguese soldiers but they killed him in cold blood. The incident then set a lot of others into movement until finally the Portuguese were driven out of Goa six years later.

Like Benipal there were many others who also laid down their lives for the freedom cause and have been forgotten. The combined efforts of these groups are aimed at giving these martyrs their due.

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com

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