Panaji, Dec 20 (IANS) Goans who possess Portuguese passports and OCI card holders will not be discriminated against if and when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise is implemented in the coastal state, state BJP President and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar said on Friday.
“There is no need to fear even if they have Portuguese passports. Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) and Portuguese passport holders should have no fear. Those who have taken Portuguese passports have gone abroad. They will have earlier proof (documents). They will have ID cards, licence, Aadhaar card, bank passbook or LIC policy. Any one document is enough (as proof),” Tendulkar said when asked about apprehension about the implementation of the NRC in Goa.
Goa, a Portuguese colony for over 450 years, gained independence in 1961. The departing Portuguese, however, offered Goan natives to choose Portuguese citizenship. The privilege of availing Portuguese citizenship was later granted to Goans who had lived in Portuguese-ruled Goa, as well as their off-springs up to three generations down the line.
Thousands of Goans have used the opportunity to migrate to Portugal and subsequently to the UK, thanks to the easy access across countries under the aegis of the European Union. Rough estimates suggest that up to 30,000 Goans are living in the UK, using the Portuguese citizenship route.
The BJP-led coalition government in Goa has come under flak from the state’s expat community, after Ports Minister Michael Lobo slammed OCIs for trying to create “obstacles in the path of development” in the coastal state.
Tendulkar also assured that NRC will help identify “outsiders” who have illegally entered the country as migrants and are working mostly as labourers.