Daily Telegraph, London, etc., Newsreports: 1954-1955

Extracts from the Daily Telegraph, London, and other papers, on the Goan Question and India's Rape of Goa, 1961. Transcribed for the public record by Lúcio Mascarenhas, Goan Patriot, from the news-clipping collection of the Patriot, Senhor Agnelo Gracias.


Daily Telegraph Special Correspondent

Panjim, Goa, Sunday. 15th August 1954:

Threats of émigré movements based in India "to occupy peacefully" the whole of Goa to-day, Indian Independence Day—seemed to be petering out in a series of small and ineffectual border demonstrations.

So far the Portuguese have been able, with one exception, to carry out their policy of allowing any recognised group to enter well into Portuguese territory before arresting them as illegal entrants. There are no reports so far of the situation getting out of hands or of troops being called in.

Typical of to-day's anti-climax was the position at Palem, on the extreme southern border, wher a major effort from Indian territory had been expected.

A group of 19 Goan "liberators" finally turned up shouting Gandhi passive resistance slogans. They were led by Alfonso de Sousa, a former Bombay bank clerk and head of the high-sounding "Goan National Congress Movement."

Awaiting them at the crumbling stone barrier were nearly as many Western journalists and two Portuguese East African sentries. The only other witnesses were hundred of black and grew crows which gave a constant and raucous voice to their excitement.


Defiant Slogans

The demonstrators were unarmed and were promptly bundled off under police guard in a bus, still shouting defiance slogans. The probable term of detention is one month, after which they can be deported back to Indian Union territory.

Gen. Guedes, Governor-General of Goa, said to me to-night: "It is a complete defeat. We don't know if they will try again, but I don't think they will get any farther if they do."

Another group of upto 30 "volunteers" were reported to be planning a parallel invasion higher up in the southern sector. Unconfirmed reports speak of larger numbers estimated at about 100 making a surprise entry across difficult ground in northern Goa near the Tiracol river.

A police spokesman in Goa told me that 25 of these had already been seized. Police reinforcements to deal with the remainder had been moved up. Meanwhile a parish priest is among those reported to be helping to control the invaders on the spot.

The "liberation" efforts began in the north as early as Friday with the introudction of leaflets calling on the local population to rise against Portugal. Somewhat clumsily the leaflets I saw were printed in Marathi, whereas the tongue of the region is Concani.


Gnat-like Incursions

The reaction of the local Goan population to these gnat-like incursions is one of utter indifference as long as they remain on too small a scale to cause unrest in the border villages.

Whatever may be the rights or wrongs in the Indian case over the Portuguese "pockets," it would be wrong to suppose that they are shared by anything but a tiny section in these pockets.

Only six arrests for offences, such as showing the Indian flag, have taken place in the capital, Panjim, to-day. One old indomitable squatted with his flag outside the Governor-General's 18th century palace on the river front. He was led off loudly protesting "I was told there would be more of us."

Before arriving in Palem in the south this morning, I did a tour by car of the northern and eastern frontier sectors. The variety of natural defences is impressive and must cause trouble even to a "pacific" invasion on the Lilliputian scale of the present one.


Armoured Cars Standing By

The extreme north is held by the Tiracol river, a sluggish dirty-green frontier stream which is too deep to wade across in the summer monsoons. The province just to the south is shielded by the wide Chapora river.

As we were ferried across it we passed an old rusty troop landing craft anchored in midstream. This is normally used to carry ore, but it has been earmarked during the present tension for moving regular troops up if needed.

At a few vulnerable spots such as Sinquerva lower down on the eastern border armoured cars were already standing by.

In the nearby province of Sanquilim, which is still "ruled" by a rajah, vulnerability is no problem. The police lieutenant said to me cheerily: "The forests east of us swarm with million of leeches. They would soon drain the liberators' ardour."

The number of arrests for showing the Indian flag and similar offences in Goa over the week-end cannot be more than a dozen or so. At the most those goaled in advance of the emergency are put even by the opponents of the local regime at a maximum of 200.



NEW DELHI, Sunday. 16th August 1954

Nehru, Indian Prime Minister, said to-day that Goa was not of great material value to India or Portugal, but it had become the symbol of the old colonial idea. "It is an ugly pimple."

"If anybody says we should continue to tolerate this pimple then he has not understood our mind and heart nor that of Asia."

The Indian Prime Minister, who was addressing a crowd of more than 1,00,000 from the ramparts of Delhi's historic Red Fort on the seventh anniversary of Indian Independence Day, declared that the attitude taken by other foreign countries on the Goa issue was a test whether they understood and sympathised with the new current in Asia. India would watch and see what advice other countries gave Portugal.

If they gave the right advice the Goa problem would be solved peacefully, but if it was wrong advice then tension and conflict was bound to increase.

Nehru, who referred three times to Goa in his address, said he was certain that the small part of Indian territory which was still under foreign domination would also become free.

"It is inconceivable that any tiny bit of territory on our soil should remain under colonial rule when our vast land has become free.

"Goa shall be liberated and integrated with a free India."


In a Note handed to the Portuguese Legation here last evening India reiterated her acceptance in principle of Portugal's proposal for impartial observers to study conditions on the border. The Note urged Portugal to appoint without further delay their representatives to confer with the Indian Government.

Last night 1,000 Delhites marched to the Portuguese Legation here to protest against the "repression" in Goa. The demonstration was organised by the Praja Socialist Party and let by the party president Kripalani, former president of the Indian Nationalist Congress.

Earlier demonstrators held a meeting at which Kripalani called on Indians to help the people of Goa. He said: "We have helped the people of Indonesia and Indo-China to achieve freedom and will be cowardly if we leave people of foreign possessions in India to fight a lone battle."

He criticised Nehru for his remark last Friday that Indians should not take part in the march into Goa.


From Our Own Correspondent
Lisbon, Sunday: 16th August 1954

The Portuguese Foreign Ministry to-day published the text of India's latest Note on Goa with the comment that it repeats India's previous reply with the same lack of precision and clarity about the fundamental points of Portugal's proposal. It gave no specific answers to the points.

There were all night services in many Portuguese towns last night for peace in Goa and protection of the settlement. One service in Lisbon was attended by Dr. Negreiros, Minister of the Interior, Adml. Tomaz, Minister of Marine, and other members of the Government and high-ranking military and naval officers.

A posthumous award of the Order of the Tower and Sword has been made to a Goan Chief Assistant of Police, Aniceto Rosario, who was murdered by the first terrorists invading the Dadra enclave. The Order is the highest decoration in Portugal.
Extracts from the Daily Telegraph, London, and other papers, on the Goan Question and India's Rape of Goa, 1961. Transcribed for the public record by Lúcio Mascarenhas, Goan Patriot, from the news-clipping collection of the Patriot, Senhor Agnelo Gracias.
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