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Punish Goans who opted for dual citizenship, say freedom fighters

Paji, June 7: Goans who have opted for Portuguese citizenship, using a unique Portuguese tiolity clause, should be punished, members of a freedom fighters association in Goa have demanded. They have also threatened to disrupt a heritage festival proposed to be held by the ruling Bharatiya Jata Party in the state capital’s picturesque Latin quarter. Addressing a press conference in Paji, Goa, Daman and Diu Freedom Fighters Association President Shyam Sunder gvekar and other members also demanded the closure of the Portuguese consulate in Goa, which is the forwarding agency for the Portuguese citizenship applications from tives of Goa.

“Portugal is still trying to interfere in interl affairs of Goa and India. We want punishment for Goans who have opted for the Portuguese citizenship. Dual citizenship is a threat to security of the state,” freedom fighter and noted poet guesh Karmali said. Goa was one of the oldest colonies of Portugal and was liberated by the Indian Army from the colonial yoke in 1961. After the liberation, all Goan tives were granted Indian citizenship by the union home ministry through a common notification.

However, the departing Portuguese sought not to completely snip their links with the former colony by allowing those who lived in Goa during the Portuguese regime to register their birth in Portugal and avail of citizenship and Portuguese travel identity documents. The privilege was later extended to two more generations of Goans. Over the years, nearly two lakh Goans are estimated to have opted for a Portuguese citizenship and at the same time retained their Indian citizenship, creating a unique crisis of sorts. According to the union home ministry, an authority will soon be set up in Goa to examine the citizenship issue on a case to case basis.

gvekar has demanded that the Portuguese consulate itself should be shut down so that no more Goans opt for Portuguese citizenship. “Portuguese consulate should be shut down. British and French too ruled India, but they never acted like Portugal once they left,” gvekar said. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita