Panaji, Jan 4: If the first two days of 2014 are any indicator, the New Year could prove to be a prickly one for Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators raised the banner of dissent against the government on Day 1 and Day 2 of 2014.
One threatened a hunger strike against corruption in the Goa Police, which functions under the Parrikar-controlled home ministry, while another threatened to form a rival mass caste-based association after the police failed to arrest BJP partymen who allegedly attacked him last month.
“The police are interested only in taking hafta (bribe). The police are working in tandem with the big sharks in the drug mafia. If all this is not probed into at the earliest, I will go on a hunger strike,” Calangute legislator Michael Lobo threatened.
Lobo claimed that the Calangute police station, which has jurisdiction over the most prime tourism territory like Candolim, Calangute and Baga beaches, was rife with corruption.
“Tourists are being robbed at knife point and the police are refusing to register serious complaints. An IPS (Indian Police Service) officer should be appointed to probe the corruption,” Lobo said Thursday afternoon.
By late evening, Parrikar told reporters that fresh instructions had been issued to the police to register First Information Reports (FIRs) the moment someone walks in with a cognizable complaint.
The other individual who is sizzling with the spirit of rebellion is St. Andre representative Vishnu Wagh, an outspoken poet-legislator who claims that he was attacked by his own party cadres on Dec 19 when Goa Liberation Day was being celebrated.
Only one out of the nearly 20 people named by Wagh in the FIR have been arrested, even as police have repeatedly dodged queries from the media about the slackness of the investigation into the assault.
Wagh’s wife Aruna has claimed that the chief minister as well as the BJP’s state organizing secretary, Satish Dhond, had given a ‘supari’ (contract) to attack Wagh, a charge which has been dismissed by both Parrikar and the BJP official.
Wagh had also given Parrikar a week’s deadline until Dec 31 to ensure that those named in the FIR were arrested.
The deadline has passed, but failure of the police to make any further arrests has forced Wagh as well as the opposition to blame the BJP for masterminding the attack and later orchestrating a cover-up.
“The police are simply not willing to investigate an assault against a legislator. In two to three months, I will set up Bahujan Mahamanch and bring together all the oppressed sections like labour, SCs, STs and others to bring about transformation in society…This is my answer to the attack,” Wagh said.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)