BJP distorting liberation history : Faleiro

| 12 February 2001 21:53 IST

The union home ministry has been accused of violating the rules relating to pension for the freedom fighters in an attempt to rewrite the Indian history and project the Sangh Parivar as the organisation that participated in India's various freedom struggles.

A recent example cited to justify the accusation is the felicitation of 82 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers in Pune at the hands of union home minister L K Advani for their 'heroic participation' in the liberation of Dadra and Nagar-Haveli in 1954.

"There was no struggle of any kind during liberation of Dadra and Nagar-Haveli. Still they felicitated only the RSS workers going against the real history and declared pension scheme for them", alleges Eduardo Faleiro, former union minister and Goa's Rajya Sabha MP.

Dadra and Nagar-Haveli, two small Portuguese-controlled enclaves near Daman, were situated near the then Bombay state. While Portuguese were controlling Daman from Goa with the access via the Arabian sea, they had to however pass through Bombay territory to these two tiny colonies.

Taking advantage of the geographical situation, then Bombay chief minister Morarji Desai responded positively to the request made by Goa's freedom fighters and sent Indian Reserve Police to help liberating Dadra and Nagar-Haveli after consulting the centre.

"The police and other Portuguese officials ... must have mistaken our Reserve Police for a military force. For, soon after spotting them, they ran away to the adjacent forest and hid themselves there. This enabled the satyagrahis to take possession of these enclaves without any difficulty", states Desai in his book 'The Story of My Life'.

According to Faleiro, granting pension to any freedom fighter for Dadra and Nagar-Haveli does not arise as the Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme is formulated to acknowledge exceptional sacrifice like imprisonment for minimum six months, grievous physical injury and loss of property or employment.

Madhav Pandit, the Goa-based general secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Swatantrata Sangram Sainik Sangh, has also expressed surprise over the manner in which the Pune function held on 10 December 2000 projected a picture that the struggle was made successful only by the RSS workers. He had personally attended the function.

"Is it not an injustice made to around 10,000 freedom fighters from Kashmir to Kanyakumari who participated in the satyagraha in Goa in 1953-54 and even faced Portuguese bullets but are still awaiting pension when only RSS people are granted it", he asks. Even in Dadra and Nagar-Haveli, he says, the Azad Gomantak Dal and United Front of Goans were the two active organisations.

Prabhakar Vaidya, who had actually participated in the liberation struggle, recalls that one armed battle had taken place in Silvasa on 10 August 1954 but the RSS participation in it was less than half of 82 persons. It was led by the Azad Gomantak Dal, he adds.

Stating that 4,53,048 pension cases are already pending before the centre as per the home ministry figures, Faleiro feels that Advani's action to please his political constituency may open the floodgates. He plans to raise the issue in the forthcoming Parliamentary session.

Faleiro is equally worried about the sinister designs of the Sangh Parivar to rewrite the whole history of India to suite their convenience. "The RSS was opposed to Mahatma Gandhi's Indian nationalism and did not even participate in the Quit India movement", he recalls.

Going a step ahead, he also alleges that the Sangh Parivar is trying to distort the history of India including the Aryan invasion by projecting that Aryans are the original settlers and all minorities are the outsiders.

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