LETTER TO EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED JULY 10 2021

One-Time Settlement Scheme for Mining Affected Borrowers?

MINING AFFECTED WOES: A team from Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry met Minister of Cooperation Govind Gaude at his secretariat office to submitted a petition to extend the One-Time Settlement Scheme ( OTS) of the government of Goa and extend the same to Cooperative Banks & Societies. The scheme was introduced in 2014 but had expired on March 31, 2021. 4574 mining affected borrowers had benefited from this scheme with a disbursal of Rs98.63 crore from the Nationalised Banks through the EDC. However, many cases are still pending from loans taken from Cooperative Banks & Societies which are reluctant to waive off part of the loans. Minister Gaude gave a patient hearing and assured the delegation that the matter will be sorted out with the Cooperative Banks & Registrar of Cooperative Societies. He would also take up the matter of extension of the OTS scheme with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. Picture depicts GCCI’s Treasurer Chandrakant Gawas and Director Sanjay Amonkar with the minister.

`WHEN I DIE’ POEM

“WHEN I die” is a famous poem by Jalaladdin Mohammad Rumi (1207-1273). He was a Sunni Persian scholar and Sufi mystic, originally from the Greater Iran. He wrote mainly in Persian. But occasionally he used Turkish, Arabic, and Greek. Today he is recognized as one of the greatest poets who ever lived.  His poems have been widely translated into many languages of the world.

The English translation of his Persian poem “When I die” are quite relevant with reference to the life of the late Fr Stan Swamy, S.J. The poem was recited by voice actor Shane Morris in a video. When Jesus was carrying his cross from Pilate’s palace to Calvary, “There followed him a great multitude of the people and women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.’” (Gospel of Luke 23:27-28)

Fr. Stan Swamy says something similar to what poet Jalaladdin Rumi and Jesus said. Probably he is telling us:

Do not shed tears

Because I was imprisoned without a trial,

Or denied bail several times,

Or I was not given a straw to drink water,

Or I was labelled as a partner of Maoists,

Or I was allowed to die a slow painful death.

Rather you weep for yourselves,

And for your and my country,

Because from democracy it is heading

Into dictatorship.

Freedom of speech, human rights,

Non-violence, unity in diversity

And other values enshrined in the

Constitution have vanished.

Arrogance, corruption, nepotism,

Fanaticism, falsehood, unity in uniformity,

The multiplication of Draculan laws is glorified;

children of untruth and darkness have become powerful tyrants.

The rulers and the citizens have forgotten

The holy prayer “Asato mā sadgamaya”

of the 8th century great sage Yajnavalkya, in his

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of Yajurveda

“From ignorance lead me to truth.

From darkness, lead me to light.

From death lead me to immortality

Om peace, peace, peace.”

They have also conveniently forgotten or set aside Rabindranath Tagore’s well-known prayer poem:

“Where the mind is without fear

 and the head is held high…

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father,

let my country awake.”

Pray that our country arises once again with one voice for the freedom struggle from the neo-colonizers; once again to recite and to live the prayers of Yajnavalkya and Tagore. Pray to the King of Kings

That our country is saved from anarchy

The dream of Mahatma Gandhiji

May rekindle once again in every corner

Rise from your slumber to save the country

Be a voice of the voiceless 3 L (last, least, lost)

Jai Bhārat.

— Pratap Naik, SJ, Goa

MIRROR DOES NOT LIE

POLITICIANS in Goa have got it easy. No one   asks them key questions. We just live with the problems and the politicians pick and choose the “minor” issues. They otherwise remain aloof like it is not their baby.

The Goa government has now decided to compensate the family of covid victims. Only if the victim was the breadwinner of the family, had an income of less than Rs8lakh and only one per family able to claim the same.

Now, when it comes to waiving taxes, is there any such differentiation done?  In 2020 even the big money laundering casinos availed of several lakh rupees worth of exemptions. They were hotspots but not declared so. Now, even the GCCI has asked for a total waiver of all taxes and licences for the entire hospitality industry. No limitations like minimum turnover, only one per owner — many have numerous pies, one per hotel chain or the establishment being the only breadwinner for the owner’s family!

To the BJP, Congress, MGP, Independent elected, AAP, NCP, Goencho  Awaaz, Goa Suraj Party RG  and any other I might have missed: You are silent to date. Why only one per family compensation when in some cases entire families were decimated? Were the locals responsible for oxygen shortages? Were they the ones frequenting the casinos and demanding tourism with no SOPs?

Did only the rich go to private hospitals or others who were denied beds? Were these expenses budgeted by the victims? If you are not for the people, you are against the people. You are leaderless and rudderless. How can you perform and deliver? You need to change your attitude. Goans first, party next.

— R Fernandes, Margao

VINDICTIVE REGIME

THE inhumane trauma inflicted on valiant Jesuit priest Fr Stan Swamy by an vindictive regime is a chilling warning for all of us. It’s the darkest blot on the conscience of humanity. It is un-becoming of any sensible system that an 84 years old social worker should have been ill-treated the way.

The Judiciary which symbolises the ultimate hope of protection against a powerful State,  failed miserably by not rising in the spirit of its constitutional mandate, and not saving a senior citizen in judicial custody from the torment he suffered before succumbing to his ailments.

Fr Stan Swamy’s pilgrimage on earth may have ended but he will live in our hearts forever. A soldier of solidarity, he bravely championed the cause for a more humanitarian society. He stood for simplicity and empowerment of the exploited while always being a friend of the poor and downtrodden.  

The Constitution of India envisages a free, fair and independent Judiciary. The highest standards of judicial independence must be ensured by warding off even the faintest trace of governmental influence on the Judiciary. It has to be ensured that judicial accountability is maintained at all times with every judge upholding the rule of law in letter as also in the spirit of the Constitution. 

Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer had said, “Even so, the creed of judicial independence is our constitutional ‘religion’ and, if the executive use Article 222 to imperil this basic tenet, the Court must ‘do or die.’”

Alas, our legal system failed to deliver timely justice, and Fr Stan died as a martyr, sacrificing his life for the cause of justice for the exploited people in this country. He will be missed more by the less fortunate brethren whom he tirelessly served with passion and care. His pending bail application died a natural death, but Fr Stan is finally free to now serve in the Kingdom of God.

May we never connive in another such suffering and death of a fellow human being in our land or beyond. Rest in eternal peace Reverend Father Stan Swamy.

— Aires Rodrigues, Ribandar

HARD LESSONS IN GOA

ALL minority community leaders from the ruling BJP government have sold their souls to enjoy a few leftover crumbs of pelf and power need to be taught a hard lesson in Goa. People across the world have sent condolence messages and have expressed shock over the untimely death of Jesuit priest and social activist Fr Stan Swamy. This too during his pre-trial detention while in the midst of bail appeal. Finally and at the last minute in a Mumbai hospital he died a lonely death.

Fr Stan Swamy had worked all his life for Adivasis, Dalits and all  marginalised communities so that though poor they may live in dignity and honour. Unfortunately he was arrested in October last year by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and charged with conspiracy in the Bhima-Koregaon case. He was branded an urban Naxalite for allegedly having links with Maoist insurgents and was also accused for being one of the mastermind behind the caste-based violence in Bhima Koregaon village in Maharashtra state in January 2018, in which one person was killed and many others injured.  Fifteen others, including scholars, lawyers, academicians, cultural activists and an ageing radical poet, were also implicated in the same case.

Unfortunately, in all these months, the NIA had not even bothered to seek a day’s custody to interrogate Fr Stan Swamy despite of claiming they had all evidence to nail him in the above mentioned case.  The 84-year-old ailing preist was detained in jail all this while denying him bail.

 An important question that the NIA needs to answer sooner or later is to bring out the real truth in this particular case and regarding the Fr Stan’s sad death. Some Opposition party leaders from the Congress and AAP in Goa have rightly issued condolence messages and demanded strict action against those responsible for the unjustified death of Fr Stan Swamy.

Unfortunately, our so-called “minority leaders” in the ruling BJP government (most of whom  always trying to show what devoted Catholics they are by publishing huge advertisements during major Christian festivals/village feasts just to woo voters from their Christian dominated constituencies) have not uttered a single word over the death of Fr Stan Swamy! Why?

Looks like these minority community leaders from the BJP have become so shameless that they have completely sold their souls to enjoy  left over crumbs and lost their ability to be human beings. Shame on them. Goans should  note all this and teach these politicians a hard lesson in the upcoming Assembly elections – they fear even to issue a simple condolence message over the death of their own prominent religious leader like Fr Stan Swamy who was victim of the misadventures/direct involvement of their own political party!

–Jerry Fernandes, Saligao, Goa

One thought on “LETTER TO EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED JULY 10 2021”

  1. So what if Congress & BJP fights with each other! Which husband & wife don’t fight with each other? This does not mean that they don’t love each other. Fighting with each other has nothing to do when it comes to support each other. Example has already been set by Congress & BJP to the people of Goa. Today there are only 3 Congress MLAs left with the Congress out of 17. Congress helped BJP to form its Government. Congress don’t see the sufferings of Goans because Love is Blind. But Congress sees the sufferings of BJP and help BJP to form the Government.

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