Panaji: Goa Forward Vice President Trajano D’Mello resigned from the party after accusing the BJP-led government of brazenly backing the fish mafia in the state, adding to the state’s political turbulence on Sunday.
Even as the BJP-led coalition in Goa battles to stay afloat amid Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s prolonged illness, a past ghost of a formalin-in-fish controversy continues to dog the government, especially BJP ally Goa Forward.
D’Mello resigned from the party, claiming that the government was backing the fish mafia which uses formalin, a carcinogenic preservative used to preserve cadavers, to preserve fish sold in the state’s fish markets.
“I would like to state that if fighting for justice for an upright officer who is mentally tortured is anti-party activity, I would prefer to fight for the injustice meted out to an officer who has alerted and saved the trusting Goan from the deadly cancerous poisoning of our brethren,” D’Mello said in his Facebook post on Sunday.
D’Mello was referring to the targeting of the whistle-blower Food and Drugs Administration official Iva Fernandes, who exposed the formalin-use scandal and has now complained to the Human Rights Commission claiming harassment by her seniors after she conducted the raid in July.
The controversy involving use of formalin in fish erupted in July this year, Fernandes found traces of formalin in fish being sold in Goa during a raid.
The BJP-led coalition government, of which Goa Forward is a part, has been on the backfoot ever since, after several of its Ministers were accused of allegedly protecting fish-traders who were allegedly importing formalin-laced fish consignments into Goa from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
D’Mello, who had been served a show cause notice by Goa Forward for his critique of the party last week, also said questioned the party leadership about its silence against the harassment of Fernandes.
“If Goa Forward, which forms one fourth of the state cabinet with its three Ministers, cannot insist on a crackdown on those who poison fish consumed by the people of Goa, then who can?” D’Mello said.