BEVDAS, FIRANGS AND GOONS!

INJURED: The elderly bus driver was badly beaten up and sustained several fractures. Earlier the goons had taken away the keys after throwing stones on the windshield of the bus

The next award that Goa will get from the tourism industry and websites and travel magazines is the award for the best destination to get bashed up by goons. This is in addition to Goa existing image as the land of the bevdas and the firang molesters

By Rajan Narayan

THE assault on an extended family of tourists from Mumbai, including a large number of women and children, has suddenly taken a new twist, at least on Facebook. I am used to issues taking all kinds of strange twists on Facebook. I was therefore not surprised when the goons, including one who has been convicted for rape, started claiming that the assault was an act of self defence and that it was the tourists who started the fight, thus changing the story to a case of rowdy tourists from outside the state victimising innocent Goenkars. To my shock even noted criminal lawyer Radharao Gracias and IT security consultant and social activist Samir Keleker joined the chorus of conferring Goenkarponn on the goons.

PROVOCATION?

SANCTUARY: The traumatised women and children tourists who were attacked by the goons were given shelter by a local resident where their evidence were recorded by the police
SANCTUARY: The traumatised women and children tourists who were attacked by the goons were given shelter by a local resident where their evidence were recorded by the
police

A VIDEO of the incident at the Hoble restaurant at Merces has been put online by Kashinath Shetye who spends most of his time as an employee of the electricity department in filing applications under the Right to Information. The video shows both the accused and a group of four tourists getting up. There is no audio so one does not know what the provocation was. The tourists’ version is that the goons made some remarks about the girls in the tourist group. If you watch the video carefully it is clear that it was the Goan goon who caught the shirt collar of the tourist. The tourists in turn retaliate. The hotel manager or owner is supposed to have settled the matter.

Obviously the matter was not considered settled by the koita-happy goon. How dare mere tourists challenge the authority of Goa’s goons who were the part of Goenkarponn tradition? The goon who had the fight in the restaurant called his fellow goons and attacked the bus. You can see that the driver of the bus is badly injured. You can also see that women and children were also attacked by the goons. Unfortunately for the goons the men in the bus retaliated and gave the goons a thrashing. Though they had to wait for 45 minutes for police to turn up. Presumably the goons are very upset that the tourists stood up to them and did not let them get away with their unwarranted attack on the bus.

NO EXCUSE

EVEN if there was a scuffle between the tourists and the Goan goon in the restaurant surely there was no excuse for the attack on the bus. Obviously an attempt is being made to let the goons get away scot free. The goons are now rightly charge with attempted murder to which the charges of molestation should be added. If protecting goons who target tourists is Goenkarponn, then we are better off without this kind of Goenkarponn.

The Merces assault was not an isolated incident. On Tuesday night, a resident of Utorda, Alexio Pereira, who had abused some young people for not voting for one of his relatives in the Panchayat election was beaten up with iron rods by a gang of 10 who also smashed his SUV. In yet another incident, a couple with their children who were going out for dinner to a restaurant in Ponda were overtaken by goons on a motor bike and bashed up. Going by these  attacks, it would appear that Goa is back to the 90s when it was Goondagao.

90’s GOONDARAJ

IN THE 90s Goa was ruled not by the chief minister or the home minister, but by goons. This was the legacy of the God-father-General of the goons hijacking the government and becoming the chief minister, if only for 45 days. We are referring to Churchill Alemao, who became chief minister after he toppled the Rane government and formed an alliance with the MGP, led by Ramakant Khalap. Those were the days when the chief minister’s official residence was converted into a den of goondas, with sharab and kababs flowing freely. Whenever there was a assault or even a murder, the police would chase the criminals but could not do anything when their vehicles entered the chief minister’s residence.

Santa Cruz was the fiefdom of Rudolf Fernandes, son of “Mummy” Victoria Fernandes dearest. He and his gang were involved in the extortion and recovery of loans for Babush Monserrate. Even the police were afraid of them. They had total contempt for the law and the police. On one occasion the Rudolf gang pulled out a member of a rival gang from the Samrat theatre where he was watching a movie, and literally hammered him to death on 18th June road. I have always suspected that it was Rudolf and company who were responsible for the deadly assault on me in 1989, after I forced Dayanand Narvekar to resign his post as speaker for allegedly molesting one of his female employees.

I was recently reminded of the reign of terror of the Rudolf gang when the present SP Umesh Goankar, in the presence of the Director General Muktesh Chandra, acknowledged that  I was the only journalist who supported him when he was a PI and he decided to go after the Santa Cruz gang.

In Merces it was the Rego gang which was then in control. Everyone turn to the Rego gang for protection if they wanted to do something illegal. Officials who would not co-operate were threatened and beaten by the Rego gang. Builders employed them to encroach on private property and take over government land. As in the case of the Rudolf gang, everyone was afraid of the Rego gang. They had the patronage of all political parties particularly Anil Hoble who was then in the Congress party and is now a senior leader of the BJP. In every election they supplied the muscle power. The Regos have always owned the hotel near the Kadamba bus stop in Panjim. I understand that the present generation has reformed and is involved in legitimate business and has given up goondagiri. The Merces incident in which an extended family, including women and children, were attacked by the goondas started in a restaurant owned by Anil Hoble’s the BJP candidate in the last election. Anil Hobles illegal restaurant in Ribandar was also demolished on the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Among the most dreaded criminals was a psychopath called Popat who was a drug dealer and a drug consumer. The modus operandi of Popat was to attack people with broken beer glasses. I recall an incident where he attacked a victim in the ferry between Betim and Panjim with all the other horrified passenger afraid to interfere. I recall informing the police who took him from court to court all of whom refused to hear his case because they were afraid of him. His sister a very pretty young lady, is married to Rudolf Fernandes. I understand that Popat has now turned religious and has joined one of the charismatic groups. Taleigao was ruled by a six foot tall and a seven foot broad, frightening-looking goon called Babani Shaikh. He used to own a taxi and used to control the taxi business from outside the Fidalgo hotel. He was also used by Babush to collect the loans that he had given to builders. He used to be the terror of Panjim. There was intense rivalry between him and the Rudolf gang. Some of the Veljees were also allegedly involved with him. Babani has reportedly retired and has graduated to owning buses.

In Margao it was the Texieras who used to be the most feared gang. They were involved in assault and even murder. As in the case of the other gangs in Panjim they also had the protection of the local MLA. Even before the victim could file a complaint, the police would register their complaint claiming that they had acted in self defence. The Taxieras also have given up goondagiri and have instead taken to politicalgiri. Which is worse then goondagiri as you can make money misusing the position. Dolly Texiera was even the mayor of Margao for a while and is still a member of the MMC.

KING OF GOONS

THE Godfather-General of the goons was of course Churchill Alemao. The six Alemao brothers controlled the coastal belt in South Goa. They bought trawlers which they allegedly used for smuggling. They collected all the goons and formed a security agency to give their acts of goondagiri a legitimacy.  Churchill’s brother Alvernaz was caught red-handed smuggling gold at the Fatrade beach in Varca by the customs officer, Costao Fernandes. Even though Costao intercepted Alvernaz smuggling gold in Churchill’s Contessa car in dramatic style the locals who were afraid of Churchill tried to kill him. He had to rush back to the sea and swim across to Cansaulim to escape. The charges against the Churchill brothers for smuggling are still pending before the tribunal.

RAVI NAIK CLEANS GOA

AS SANDEEP Heble has rightly pointed out in a Facebook post, the best home minister Goa had was Ravi Naik in 1993. Ravi Naik, who was made chief minister by the Congress after he split from the BJP, had all the goondas arrested under the National Security Act which allowed police to detain a suspect for six months without trial. Among those arrested were Rudolf Fernandes and Mummy dearest. Though Mummy was freed, Rudolf spend six months in the Reis Magos jail. All the other goons, including Babani, the Rego brothers, and the Texiras, were also arrested. After avoiding the police for two months, even Churchill Alemao surrendered and was also taken to the Reis Magos jail to keep Rudolf company. Never mind that even in jail they got VIP treatment and used to order food from the best Chinese restaurant from Panjim.

RANE’S REIGN

THE arrest of the goons, particularly that of Rudolf and Churchill, had a dramatic effect. The smaller fry among the criminal class were frightened. For almost  ten years there was no major breach of law and order. Fortunately for Goa, Pratap Singh Rane became the chief minister when Dr Wilfred D’souza’s term got over and fresh elections were held in the last election before statehood. Rane also won the first election after statehood in 1987. Though Ravi Naik no doubt deserves the credit for invoking the National Security Act against the goondas who had sprouted in every part of Goa, equal credit should go to Pratap Singh Rane. Rane was such a strict chief minister even his cabinet colleagues were frightened of him to the extent that even if they were sitting in  their cabins, they would stand up while talking to him on the phone.

PROTECTED: Babush Monserrate and his goons were accused of attacking the Panjim police station to force the release of criminals close to him
PROTECTED: Babush Monserrate and his goons were accused of attacking the Panjim
police station to force the release of criminals close to him

The collapse of law and order coincided with the toppling of Rane. Law and order is a corollary of political stability. When the cat is away, the mice get frisky. Between 1961 when Goa was liberated and 1987 when Goa became a state, there were only three chief ministers. But after statehood, between 1990 and 2000, there were as many as thirteen. The average tenure of the chief ministers was less than one year. This was one of the primary causes for the breakdown of law and order which was aggravated by Manohar Parrikar.

PARRIKAR EFFECT

MANOHAR Parrikar came to power by toppling the Sardinha government which he had helped to create. In his obsession with holding on to power, Parrikar invited the goondas or rather the patron of the goondas to join the cabinet. Historically it was Babush Monserrate who used to be the main patron at least of the Panjim gangs, as he used to use them to recover the money he used to lend to big and small builders. Many of the fancy cars Babush’s garage were seized from rich builders who could not return his money. Babush also used to demand flats or even entire buildings in settlement of the loans taken at huge rates of interest. The goons were the enforcers of Babush.

POLL FALLOUT: An Utorda businessman was brutally assaulted by supporters of a rival candidate in the panchayat and his vehicle was badly damaged
POLL FALLOUT: An Utorda businessman was brutally assaulted by supporters of a rival
candidate in the panchayat and his vehicle was badly damaged

With Babush joining the cabinet the goons again regained confidence. With Churchill also rebounding in politics the goons became bindas again. It is the alliances that Parrikar made with the patrons of the goons which is responsible for the existing situation. Things worsened when Parrikar was in Delhi for a couple of years as Defence Minister as Parsekar had no control over the corrupt police who were colluding with the goons. Babush would never have the guts to attack the Panjim police station but for the importance given to him by Manohar Parrikar.

The Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had claimed that he would crack down on all criminals, that he would arrest the over thousand with a criminal record. Police considered anyone who was being arrested repeatedly as a history sheeters. The billion dollar question is whether Parrikar will have the guts to take the kind of action that Ravi Naik did. He would have to first arrest Babush Monserrate, Mickey Pacheco, Churchill Alemao and many of his Ministers and MLAs like Pandurang Madkaikar who have a record of extending protection to the goons. Parrikar will find that it is easier to deal with Pakistan than to order a surgical strike against the goons in Goa. Particularly since Parrikar needs the support of Babush Monserrate to win the bye-election to Panjim to retain his position as chief minister.

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