Goa: Finally, it was all’s well that ended well. The tension and dispute over hoisting the tricolour flag at St Jacinto island in Goa was defused with both the Indian Navy personnel and locals jointly doing the honours on Sunday.
A kind of mistrust had developed between the local villagers and fishermen of the picturesque island and the navy personnel following an announcement that the Navy would be unfurling the national flag. The Navy planned to hoist the national flag as part of the `Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark 75 years of India’s Independence.
St Jacinto is a rocky island in the estuary of the Zuari river. The island has some 200 houses and there is no agricultural activity except for coconut groves.
On Friday the Navy had to issue an official communique that it had dropped the proposal. Some local politicians spread rumours that hoisting of the flag by the Navy was a ruse
to capture the island and drive away the locals.'' The issue became serious, when Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant described the locals resistance asanti-national” and directed an inquiry to be conducted.
It took two days for the Navy officials and its veterans to convince the villagers that there was no ulterior motive behind the patriotic act. Finally on Sunday, the Navy and the locals jointly unfurled the tricolour and sang the national anthem.
Hailing the settlement of the dispute on a good note, AICC observer for Goa North, Mansoor Ali Khan told The New Delhi Chronicle: “As usual it was a divisive game which was played by the BJP. Why was the island demarcated and deliberately dropped from the Coastal Zone Management plan?. The villagers of St Jacinto Island don’t trust the BJP anymore ‘’
Captain Viriato Fernandes of Goencho Avaaz, an NGO turned political party, said that the residents of the island had their reasons. The ‘distrust’ of the residents of the island stemed from the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) and the Major Port Authority Bill, 2020 passed by the Parliament in which the island has been shown in the jurisdiction of the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT).