Panaji, July 3 (IANS) Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday expressed regret that several freedom fighters who fought for Goa’s freedom from colonial yoke could not be freed from Portuguese prisons, years after the liberation of the state in 1961.
He was speaking in Panaji at a condolence meet organised for the people to pay tributes to late Mohan Ranade who participated in the freedom struggle for Goa and died in Pune on June 25.
“Ranade should have been freed after Goa’s independence. He had to live there (in Portuguese prison) for eight years after liberation. It is a matter of sadness for us. We got fruits of freedom in 1961, but those who fought for freedom were in prison… As the Chief Minister of Goa, I regret this,” Sawant said.
Ranade was a member of the Azad Gomantak Dal, a group of revolutionaries freedom fighters who believed in the doctrine of armed attacks against colonist rule and participated in armed ambushes on several Portuguese installations in Goa, their favourite targets being police stations.
Arrested in 1955 for an armed attack on the Betim police station, Sangli-born Ranade who was undercover as a Marathi school teacher in Goa, was first sentenced to five years in solitary confinement in Goa, before serving 14 years in a Portuguese prison near Lisbon. He was in prison when Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule in 1961.
He was released soon after then Tamil Nadu Cheif Minister C.N. Annadurai urged Pope Paul VI to request the Portuguese government to release the Ranade from incarceration.