Goa Freedom Struggle Satyagrahas

The national congress (Goa) was born at Londa in the aftermath of the 1946 movement. In 1953, Peter Alwares, a well known Bombay based Goan politician was elected as it's president. Undoubtedly this body had done significant work outside goa. But peter Alwares was keen to conduct political activities in Goa itself. This prompted him to organize several meetings which were often attended by Gopal Apa Kamat, Pandurang Mulgaonkar, Dr. Francisco Martins and Dr. Pundalik Gaitonde. At one such meeting a working committee was constituted under the leadership of Dr. Gaitonde as president and Gopal Apa Kamat as vice president to function in Goa.

The Goa action committee chalked out a plan of action. It was decided to march to Goa on 15th August 1954. Plans were afoot to stage the satyagraha of 15th August 1954. About 4000-6000 people were expected to participate in it. When the Portuguese learnt of these plans they called for reinforcements. On 1st August 1954 the borders of Goa were sealed. The entry of all Indian and foreign newspapers was prohibited and curfew was clamped on Goa. Troops were issued orders by Portuguese authorities to shoot at sight. Bridges were blasted and rail and ferry services suspended. Trenches were dug.

On 15th August 1954 itself thousands of satyagrahis were prevented from crossing the Goan Borders. Despite this three bands of 15 satyaghrahis each, entered Goa via Karvar, Terekhol and Banda. At Terekhol a group of 15 volunteers entered the fort and hoisted the Indian flag. Twenty four hours later the Portuguese recaptured the fort and took the satyagrahis into custody. The Goa Vimochan Samiti was established in 1954 with the only objective of freeing Goa from the crutches of the Portuguese. On 18th may 1955, headed by Senapati Bapat and the secretary of the Samiti. N.G. Gore attempted to forcibly enter Goa to offer satyagraha. Their advances were checked by the Portuguese police who fired at the crowd and made immediate arrests.

The Goa Vimochan Samiti decided to organize a mass movement on 1st August 1955. It appealed to various political parties in Goa for support and assistance. The response was overwhelming. On the marked day there was much tension along the 160 mile border of Goa. About 4000 people took part in this movement. They arrived from distant parts of India – Kashmir, Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka etc. They belonged to different political parties. At Patradevi on the Banda Border about 600 satyagrhis tried to enter goa. The Portuguese police opened fire. Many fell victims to the Portuguese bullets.The Goa National Congress played a significant role in the satyagraha of 1955. It's president Peter Alwares had also galvanized people to participate in the satyagraha of 1955. He led a batch of satyaghrahis who offered satyagraha at Castle Rock on 26th January 1955. On account of his activities he was charge sheeted by the Portuguese police and convicted in absentia for 18 years of imprisonment.

The national Congress (Goa) also called for stoppage of celebrations, non payment of taxes, boycott of law courts, lawyers, etc. All this was part of a strategy to undermine Portuguese colonialism in Goa. In 1955, Mohan Ranade led and participated in a number of armed attacks on the police and custom outposts. Galeli customs outpost, Calangute police station, Assanora Police outpost, Ravan police outpost and Aldona police outpost. During an attack on the Betim police station, he was shot at and seriously wounded. After his recovery he was tried and sentenced to 26 years of rigorous imprisonment. He was deported to Portugal. He was released after Goa's liberation largely due to widespread protests at his continuous detention.