PM Narendra Modi – The New Indian Express

Through PTI

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused Jawaharlal Nehru of failing to send forces to liberate Goa from Portuguese rule for 15 years, simply to protect its “peace-loving global image”.

A week before Goa goes to polls to elect a new assembly, Modi used his response to the motion to accept the President’s speech in Rajya Sabha to attack Congress over free speech and how he had fired Lata Mangeshkar’s younger brother from all-India radio for the presentation of a patriotic poem by Veer Savarkar.

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He also cited the example of well-known lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri, who had imprisoned him for speaking out against Nehru. Modi also accused Nehru of abandoning the Satyagrahis fighting for Goa’s freedom and using the pro-independence address to attack their movement.

“It was 60 years of Goa liberation. The people of Goa need to listen to me today. The way Sardar Patel mapped out a strategy for Hyderabad and Junagad would not have perished if the same spirit had been followed for Goa as well, under foreign rule for 15 years after India’s independence. The state was liberated after 15 years of country independence,” Modi said.

Citing media reports from the time, he noted that Nehru had not taken any action against the Portuguese occupation of Goa, believing it would damage his international image. “That was his, Pandit Nehru’s, greatest fear. He thought that invading the foreign government would destroy his peace-loving global image. Let Goa suffer, but my image shouldn’t be damaged, he thought,” Modi declared in the House of Lords.

He further said: “When Satyagrahis were fired upon by a foreign power, my Indian brothers and sisters faced bullets. At that time, our prime minister said that I would not send the army. He refused to help the Satyagrahis. This is the torture that the Congress Party inflicted on Goa’s people. This led to another 15 years of foreign rule in Goa. Many brave souls lost their lives because of it.”

Modi also referred to Nehru’s speech of August 15, 1955, in which he said that no army aid would be sent to help the protesting Satyagrahis and the matter would be resolved peacefully. “People in my country were helpless, they did that to Goa. The people of Goa cannot forget this attitude of the Congress Party,” Modi added.

He also attacked Congress for treating Lata Mangeshkar’s family harshly. “Your family belongs to Goa. Let me tell you how they (Congress) treated their family, the country should know. Lata Mangeshkar’s younger brother Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar was fired from All India Radio. His fault was that he was reciting a patriotic poem by Veer Savarkar. He was fired from All India Radio within eight days, that’s your freedom of speech,” he said, attacking the Congress party.

The election for the 40-seat assembly in Goa will take place on February 14th and the votes will be counted on March 10th.

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