Controversial VCD withdrawn

| 05 January 2005 23:11 IST

Goa’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has decided to withdraw the controversial video film on Goan Freedom Struggle the Goan church had objected to.

The local BJP has been charged of pushing forward the Hindutva agenda through the film, by projecting one-sided picture of atrocities of the Church against the Hindus in the 16th century through conversions.

Following strong objections raised by the local Church on the VCD circulated by the state education department to all the schools, the issue had created a furore in Goa.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar has now assured leaders of the United Goans Democratic Party, his coalition partners in the government, to withdraw the VCD.

According to the Church authorities, the VCD has painted the Portuguese black by highlighting their atrocities against the local Hindus in the 16th century in a very crude manner.

The history has been misinterpreted and projected in such a manner that it could unnecessarily create a communal divide in the society while making adverse impact on the minds of the children, states the Church.

Subhash Velingkar, the local RSS chief and member of the screening committee of the film, however fully justifies the role of the Church projected in the film. “What is wrong in telling the true history of the Church”, he asks.

The opposition Congress also politicised the issue by burning the VCD and demanding resignation of the chief minister. Following this, the government screened the film for the freedom fighters, in order to gather their views.

Though several freedom fighters gave mixed reactions, they were unanimous in opining that the film is not complete. In fact their main grievance was that enough time was not dedicated to project the holistic picture of the Goan freedom struggle, at the cost of the initial part of the atrocities, carried out allegedly jointly by the Portuguese and the Church.

Some of the freedom fighters have also demanded that the role of local Hindus, who invited Portuguese to Goa in the 16th century and later on joined hands with the Portuguese authorities to continue their rule, was totally blacked out.

According to the UGDP general secretary Prashant Naik, the chief minister has now agreed to withdraw the VCD from the schools and make necessary changes accordingly.

The education department has also appealed to the people to send their suggestions to make necessary changes in the film, produced and directed by Ramesh and Ajinkya Dev, the Maharashtrian film personalities by spending around Rs 40 lakh.

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