Don’t misjudge Rohan Khaunte’s arrest!

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
07 February 2020 21:20 IST

By now, we are familiar with the details.

Rohan Khaunte, Independent MLA of Porvorim and architect of the Manohar Parrikar pack of cards government in 2017, was rudely awakened in the dead of night and summarily arrested by a vindictive, manipulative BJP government, which enjoys a crushing "Congress" majority in the state.

And the grounds for the arrest??

Oh, a piffling political argument with some obscure BJP functionary in the precincts of the Legislative Assembly.

There have been two kinds of reactions, I gathered, to the arrest as I spoke to folk.


Many people consider Rohan to be a complete political thug of the Porvorim constituency.
From fraudulent land deals to criminal intimidation to outright, brazen corruption; Rohan is legend.

So this was his comeuppance. The guy absolutely had it coming and got his just desserts.

The next they believe should be his country cousin from South of the border.


This one is from the diehard Parrikar FanZone.

How could Rohan be humiliated thus?

Wasn't he instrumental in installing the BJP government??

Is this how you treat a "loyal" ally??

Is this democracy??

Is this justice??

Even Adolf Hitler would be better.

This group is genuinely outraged and do not be surprised if a Shaheen Bagh like protest in support of Rohan pops up somewhere.

Both these reactions, I'm sorry to say, miss the point completely.

For the first group, I'd say this.

This arrest goes far beyond Rohan alone.

Arrest and prosecute him for all his alleged misdeeds, especially when he is SUPPORTING you, by all means.

But to arrest him for a verbal political slugfest with a ruling political functionary is like making a complete mockery of the justice system.

Today Rohan, tomorrow it could be any of us who disagrees with anyone from “God's Own Party”.

Is this how a police force catapults before political authority??

Will the courts (in case they are not on vacation) take suo motto cognisance of such a brazen abuse of power??

Is this what Goa has descended to??

An elastic police force busy collaring helmetless drivers, turning a blind eye to the flourishing drug and sex trade and efficient at protecting the dubious "honour" of all BJP card-holding members??

A fascinating future indeed.

The second reaction by erstwhile Parrikar supporters is also disingenuous.

Never once was a pipsqueak heard when Mr Parrikar used to also use his arbitrary powers to bully and intimidate his opponents.

I still recollect the hasty manner in which the one 24 carat HERO Goa has; Claude Alvares, was booked for a protest of locking some office, at Mr Parrikar’s behest.

No one stood by Claude then.

The point therefore is this:

Love Rohan or Hate Rohan, I don't care;

HE is not the issue.

The issue at hand is our civil liberties which have been under increasing pressure, over the last decade or so.

If this BJP government gets away with a ridiculous arrest like this, there is no telling, where their crazy juggernaut steam rolls and crushes next.

Post Script:

It was heartening to see the opposition jointly condemning this outrageous arrest and for once didn't look they were play-acting.

Sometimes these kinds of alarm bells of democracy in peril must ring loudly like this.

Because for all the guys and gal from the Congress, GF and MGP who cosy up to the BJP, the realisation must dawn that if the going ever gets hot ...


Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

Great article!

- TALBERT FRANK, Chimbel | 18 th May 2020 06:28


Rohan Khaunte got a false and bogus FIR registered against me through his agent in the Porvorim Police, Dy SP Kiran Poduwal, who planned the bogus FIR to get me arrested in a false criminal case. Khaunte publushed full page advdrtisements on his birthday in the NAVHIND TIMES which published a one-sided and bogus news report against me. It is you who called Rohan Khaunte a ""political thug" which is a mild term for him.

- Dr Olsv Albuquerque, Mumbai | 11 th February 2020 18:39


But don't the Police need a Court Order to arrest someone especially a law maker? And Courts are open at 1 am?

- Lawrence Fernandes, Goa Sancoale | 08 th February 2020 07:50


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