Thursday 25 May 2017

Vanxim Revolt is now Seven Years: Some reflections

May 2017 is a very important juncture in time for several reasons for Vanxim proved a way to the skeletons in the office of the Goa Archbishop. May 13, 2017 witnessed consecration of Archdiocese of Goa to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Mary’s views on God as recorded in Luke 1:51-53 commands our attention:
“He has shewed might in his arm: he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He has filled hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.”
This consecration is also the an occasion to clean up all heresies such as clandestine dictates against Latin Mass and Latin Litanies besides to reverse trend of high paced liquidation of Public Lands given to various religious institutes under Goa Diocese.
May 2017 completes open rebellion in Vanxim against Land grab by Corporate entity Ozone facilitated by Mahendra Gaunekar and the Office of the Goa Archbishop. On May 16, 2010 MLA Pandurang Madkaikar, Mahendra Gaunkar and Ozone officials visited Vanxim to convince people to accept land grab of their island. They did not succeed and had open confrontation. Overwhelming majority people opposed and challenged Pandurang Madkaikar as well as Mahendra Gaunekar along with Rudresh Chodankar.
May 23rd is also the birthday of murdered Fr.Bismarque Dias. He spoke in defense of Vanxim and continuously questioned role of the Office of the Goa Archbishops in selling Vanxim. After State agencies avoided to register his death as murder High Court few weeks ago has directed Police to register this case as murder and commence investigations.
In view of the above circumstances it is important to reflect critically and question few taken-for-granted assumptions on Politics of Vanxim land deal.
1.       Mafia background: Although sounds scandalous Vanxim land deal is purely a mafia deal. Mafia that has not only penetrated deep into the office of the Goa Archbishop and visible from 1995 onwards. Fr.Victor Rodrigues has been key mole in this regard as he is the one who signed Vanxim Agreement to Sale in April 1999 on behalf of then Archbishop Raul Nicolau Gonsalves. Agreement to sale itself commits Archdiocese to sell Vanxim to corporate body directly. It was mafia operations by which Narayan Bhonsle refused to hand over charge to the new committee of Vanxim Tetants Association and destroyed Vanxim bunds allowing Mandovi waters into Paddy fields and rendering cultivation impossible. It was mafia influence in the office of the Tiswadi Mamlatdar who ignored the complaints on breach of bunds in Vanxim and illegalities of functioning of Tenants Association of Vanxim.
2.       Basis in Fraud: N.O.C obtained from Tenants Association of Vanxim  to sell Vanxim is fraud. This is confirmed as after repeated questioning Goa Diocese is not been able to make this document Public. What documents are presented to Rome is not known to public at all. Based on this fraud letter is written to Rome to get permission to sell Vanxim and claims are floating that Vatican has granted the permissions to sell Vanxim. This is again a fraud as Office of the Archbishop has not made these documents public in spite of repeated public questioning. By keeping these documents hidden Office of the Goa Archbishop is causing grave insult to Pope John Paul II who is believed to have sanctioned sale of Vanxim. If this saint was petitioned to sell Vanxim and if indeed if he has sanctioned sale of Vanxim then People of Goa has right to see these documents made public. We want to know as to how Goa Archbishop’s office had presented Vanxim case for liquidation and what has been the response. Secrecy in these matters is intolerable.
3.       Forged Signatures of witnesses: Signatures of the one staff of the Bishop’s house on Agreement to Sale and Sale Deed differs drastically. Investigations followed by criminal proceedings are the need of the hour on Vanxim deal on this aspect too.
4.        Buyer without Address: It is a common practice that both the seller and the buyer must have their complete address recorded in the documents of Agreement to Sale as well as Sale deed. While sellers’ address is recorded as Altinho, Panjim in total the buyers’ address is kept concealed in both the documents and recorded simply as Mahendra Gaunekar, Panjim. Why is it so? Why Mahendra Gaunekar’s full address is not recorded in full? Is it because Gaunekar is next door neighbor to the Office of the Goa Archbishop? Why Gaunekar’s address has been kept clandestine? The sale deed as well as Agreement to Sale was carried on in the office of Civil Authority. Why Civil Authorities allowed this to happen? It is clearly evident that Civil Authorities are as corrupt as the office of the Goa Archbishop.
5.       Long term destruction of agriculture: People of Vanxim were self sufficient in food. Paddy always yielded bumper crops. People were enterprising in their family farms and were autonomous. There was no dependency. Paddy was ably supplemented by fishing activities. Destruction of agriculture however destroyed but Paddy cultivation as well as traditional fishing at Vanxim manos. State authorities are colluded with anti-social elements and ignored public complaints and cultivation remains impossible. State Authorities behaved irresponsibly through their acts of omission. Now agriculture stands ravaged. Paddy fields are full of mangroves. For food People have to buy food from outside or from Public Distribution Shops (PDS) in Malar. Mafia rule in India has turned all pervasive. PDS is asking for Aadhaar Card for few kiolos of wheat and rice. Aadhaar data is for surveillance purpose and makes mockery of privacy. Destruction of food sustainability in Vanxim has resulted in such a enslaving situation and the Office of Goa Archbishop is clearly responsible to this.
6.       Ozone Intervention as Land Grab: buying of Vanxim bunds and Paddy fields by Bangalore based corporate Ozone represents colonial and imperialist designs of Capital accumulation and reducing local people as their subjects. In fact this is very clear from the Joint Development Agreement between Mahendra Gaunkar and Ozone corporate. Ozone claims that they are going to decide as to who stays in Vanxim. This document also outlines very clearly Goa
Archbishop is going to facilitate takeover of every residential house in Vanxim by Ozone. There are reports from Goa Archdiocese that Mahendra Gaunekar has approached to buy off residential houses in Vanxim but refused most probably due to Public outcry. Most of the houses in Vanxim have executed 99 years lease deed with the office of the Goa Archbishop. This legal relationship is now sought to be broken and sale deed promoted. This is mainly a capitalist move to put pressure on Vanxim residence to pay up very high costs for the purchase of their house plots. Once the sale deed is executed Ozone and their mafia group is free to unleash reign of terror on Vanxim residence to sell off their house plots to Ozone jus as they have gone about with Paddy fields. Declaration of Vanxim (and also Tiracol) as Eco-tourism site are only green pretexts of Land Grab.
7.       Can the Office of the Archbishop absolve responsibility to Vanxim? There are arguments put forth by few that once the Archbishop’s house sold Vanxim to Mahendra Gaunekar role of the Archdiocese is over and those who are protesting over Vanxim must not talk of Vanxim. The argument further extends that office of Archbishop is not responsible for the fact that Mahendra Gaonekar has sold Vanxim to Ozone corporate. This is not a valid argument. The Agreement to Sale of Vanxim of 1999 itself is clear on this. It binds Archdiocese to sell Vanxim even directly to the Corporate. The fact that Archdiocese has not done so and sold Vanxim Paddy fields to Mahendra Gaunekar does not exempt diocese of its responsibilities towards Vanxim. From the Agreement to Sale it is clearly deductable that Archdiocese was fully aware that Vanxim is going to be transferred to private corporate and consented to it. Storm has to be raised against the office of the Archbishop of Goa and we are sure clean – up is round the corner. Vanxim episode demonstrates clearly that mafia is ruling the office of Goa Archbishop for past several decades and Vanxim sale is a fruit of it. We cannot run away from this reality and pretend as if all is well.
8.       Who sold whose Paddy fields? Several people who sold paddy fields to Mahendra Gaunekar and Ozone corporate did no belong to them. So many of them were given to them only for cultivation purpose. Tenancy law created the situation in which rights were bestowed on those who are cultivating the paddy fields in the decade of 1960’s. There are many such people who have entered into commercial deals with Gaunekar and Ozone signed their papers away for lakhs of rupees.
9.       Paddy fields for commercial housing and tourism for the super rich? What is the logic that justifies allocation of paddy field spaces on Vanxim Island in the middle of Mandovi River for housing and tourism for the super rich of the world? What is the nature of this development? Disgusting. This is possible because of the nexus of the office of the Goa Archbishop. Setting up of fast track courts to solve tenancy cases have more to do with facilitating land grabs all over Goa than to grant rights to tenants.
10.   Ozone and Gaunekar, destiny makers of Vanxim? These entities have common interest to gobble up Vanxim. They are seen actively involved through proxies to support, propose and oppose various people as candidates for the forthcoming Panchayat elections. For the past Assembly elections Ozone and Gaunekar lobbied with Manohar Parrikar to get Pandurang Madkaikar into BJP and he got elected as the scarecrow of EVMs in Cumbharjua constituency. This is a very sad reality and the office of Goa Archbishop is responsible for getting Gaunkar and Ozone involved in Vanxim and they are blaming Vanxim People for Catholics leaving the Church. Goa Archbishop’s office is centre to sell off Catholics today. Tsunami has to be raised against the office of the Goa Archbishop for their deeds in Vanxim and we are sure it is take place and wipe everything clean and new reign take over.
11.   Archbishop responsible for Vanxim Sale alone? No. Fr. Noel D’Costa in a mass e-mail circulated few moths ago clarified that Archbishop is not the only one who is involved in decision to sell Vanxim. These are others involved too. So Archbishop cannot be held responsible alone, others too must be named. Investigations have revealed that currently rules of the Church after Vatican II stripped off Archbishops of their autonomy in decision making. Perhaps this is what Fr. Noel D’Costa is hinting at. If Archbishops are caged parrots in post-Vatican II church then they must revolt against it like Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre have revolted and his ordained priests and Bishops are carrying the age old tradition as per writings of St. Paul’s call to keep up to the tradition. There is tremendous resistance going on all over the world. Let Goa Clergy too join in.  If Vanxim episode calls for the revolt of Archbishops, Priests and Laity of Goa against the Vatican II rules so let it be. We cannot tolerate what the Office of Goa Archbishop has done in Vanxim.
12.   Towards retaining autonomy over Vanxim: No Political Party, no Corporate body can steer Vanxim out of present crisis. Political Parties are only there to use people for gaining of power. Once they gain power they discard their voters. Present and past government formations is an example testimony to this effect. Very often those who get elected get co-opted financially and even ideologically. Present member of Malar Panchayat Greeta Vaz is an excellent example. She was proposed elected with a mass public support to be a voice of Vanxim revolt in the Panchayat. Yet she betrayed. She did not push for a single resolution opposing Ozone project in Vanxim. She did not get Malar Panchayat to pass a resolution against declaration of Vanxim as Investment Promotion Area. Instead she has become a voice of corporate Ozone! Ridiculous. What lessons we learn from here? Democracy essentially is method for division and strife in the village. This division has come to a boiling point with the Ozone and Gaunekar in the picture. They would have never been in the picture if not for the stupidest decision making by the office of the Goa Archbishop to sell Vanxim. Looking at all this scenario there is only one direction visible. Vanxim islanders have to shun the Political Parties for good and take responsibility for the island like the ancestors did and cared and developed in a way they wanted.   Panchayat is currently defunct body and Chief Minister is the Chairman of Investment Promotion Board deciding pace of Land grabs all over Goa. Elected member from Vanxim has important role to play: an unceasing voice in defense of Vanxim from Corporate Land grabs. Same is the role of every one on the island as vey often elected members get co-opted : to be an unceasing voice in defense of Vanxim. Those running after money, parties, power, self-glory, pride etc are only speeding up their self destruction.
13.   What if other Church deals get affected with Vanxim agitation? This is a question fielded at us often pointing towards similar unethical practices followed by the office of the Goa Archbishop in other places in Goa like dealings with Models Constructions in Taleigao Souto Maior lands meant for welfare of local tribal people. We are not bothered as to what impact Vanxim agitation is to have on other similar dealings irrespective of culprit’s geographic identity. Ethically correct dealings will have no negative impact of Vanxim agitation. It is only unethical dealings in land leading to grabs by locals and outstation actors that are bound to be affected negatively and their credibility questioned. So be it. Souto Maoir dealings once again proves Advocate John Fernandes right that Office of the Goa Archbishop cares a damn for tribal people of Goa – Gawdas, Velips. Questions on Vanxim deal will continue to be raised in public domain irrespective of what impact it is having on other deals of land grab involving office of the Goa Archbishop. With the Consecration of Goa Archdiocese it is natural that the suppressed and the oppressed must rise up with their voices and rich must go away with empty hands.  No one is focusing on how Leading Hotels opposed by Church in Tiracol is allowed to enter in land deals in Nuvem. No one examines roles played Fr. Victor Rodrigues there in Nuvem and while he was Procurator of the Diocese and signed agreement to Sale on Vanxim. No one examines role of Aldona Parish Priest Fr. Arlino D’Mello while served as Procurator and sold Vanxim. There are too many and too dangerous skeletons in the office of Goa Archbishop they have to be dealt with by the respective Church Authorities instead of waiting for Public fury to dislodge them.

14.   Intellectuals as Parasites: Even though so may intellectuals are aware of the layers of scams relating to Vanxim land deals they are silent. Few poke up and they for mysterious reasons got silenced. We will not name them but hopefully they will make their finding public without fear immidiately. Now that Goa Archdiocese is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary there is no scope of fear. Mary takes away all fears make us all new and undoubtedly with consecration of Goa Diocese to her Immaculate Heart Mary is set to pull down Bamon Raj and other existing satanic kingdoms and dominions. Anyway, leaving these intellectuals aside we continue to speak up, we continue to confront, we continue to fight our battle in forthright manner.

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