BY FLYNN REMEDIOS: While almost everyone in Goa has been fuming and tearing their hair out over the illegal and unauthorized party meeting and the blatant abuse of power by the BJP leadership in Goa, what everyone seems to have overlooked is that fact that some local BJP leaders had actually coerced, threatened and even bamboozled Airport and CISF officials over the matter when they tried to protest and objected to the tamasha in the airport premises.
Goa Dabolim Airport and CISF officials who spoke to IndiaScribes.com‘s Investigations Editor Flynn Remedios, said that they were not in favor of holding the meeting at the venue and had clearly expressed their reservations and objections to local BJP leaders. But the latter had rebuked them saying that they will handle the repercussions as and when they come up in future. CISF officials had expressed their displeasure to one or two local BJP leaders even while the meeting was going on, but they were told to shut up.
Airport officials have now washed their hands off the matter. Said one airport official speaking to Flynn Remedios on condition of anonymity, “Why should we take any blame. We had objected to the entire event. We were not in favor of the meeting. When I raised objections, and told them strictly that a public meeting cannot be held on the airport concourse, they (Goa BJP leaders) threatened me that I will be sacked and relieved of my job immediately if I raised any objection.”
“Keep your advice to yourself. Just do as you are told. Don’t you know that the BJP National President Amitbhai Shah is going to be here. It is our government both in Goa and Delhi. We run the airports and the country,” was the stern advice and dressing down given to the airport official by one of the BJP leaders.
Two BJP leaders also shot down a CISF officer who told them that there could be a security risk if such a meeting was held with several leaders present. One BJP leader from North Goa told the CISF official to do his job of maintaining a vigil at the airport and leave the rest to them.
Both airport officials and the CISF want to come clean and wash their hands off the matter. They know that if the matter reaches the courts, they can be punished for dereliction of duty. The airport director and other senior officials are responsible for the safety and sanctity of the airport. Holding such a public gathering can hamper operations and compromise the safety of the airport.
The Goa Citizens Action Forum (GCAF) through a press note issued in Panaji, announced that they will move the Bombay High Court at Goa over the gross misuse of government and public property for a private political party meeting at the Dabolim airport in Goa by BJP national president Amit Shah and other BJP leaders in Goa.
Terming the meeting “illegal”, “unauthorized” and a blatant show of disdain for the law of the land, the GCAF spokesperson Firoz Ahmed Khan said the event reflected the “BJP dadagiri in Goa“. On one hand, an otherwise unknown Sadhvi Saraswati walks into Goa and makes several communally disruptive statements. While no action is taken against her or the organizers of the event, within few days, the entire BJP machinery in the state misuses government property for a private political party meeting, Khan said on behalf of the GCAF in a written statement.
ALSO READ: After Sadhvi Saraswati, BJP’s dadagiri in Goa: GCAF to move High Court over Amit Shah meeting at Airport
According to a GCAF spokesperson, after Sadhvi Saraswati’s public statements, here is another belligerent act by the ruling party. This just goes to show that the government in Goa, not just supports Sadhvi Saraswati’s actions, but has scant respect for the law of the land and has no qualms in behaving like a “goonda”, Firoz Ahmed Khan told IndiaScribes.com.
According to the Indian Express, the Goa Congress has demanded a case of trespass to be registered over the “authorised” public meeting BJP chief Amit Shah was alleged to have addressed in the prohibited area of Dabolim airport in Panaji on Saturday. Led by AICC secretary Girish Chodankar, Congress workers met the airport director B C H Negi to register their protest and later claimed the official admitted no permission had been granted for the event.
The BJP, which earlier claimed it had permission for the meeting, Monday said the crowd that greeted Shah at the airport had gathered there spontaneously and that it was “not a planned meeting”. “We asked the airport director to show us the permission (for the meeting) after which he admitted none was given. We have asked the Airports Authority to India to file a formal police complaint of trespass against the people concerned,” Chodankar said after meeting Negi, as reported by The Indian Express.
The airport at Dabolim is inside the Naval air base, he said, adding holding such a meeting there raised questions about the security at the facility. Shah, who was on a two-day visit to Goa, allegedly held a meeting at the airport complex in the presence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union minister Sripad Naik.
Social activist Aires Rodrigues has filed a complaint with the Union civil aviation ministry, Goa chief secretary and the state’s police chief, terming the meeting illegal and seeking registration of an FIR against Shah, the organisers of the event and all dignitaries present.
The BJP had then claimed the party had the necessary permission for the meeting which took place “not inside the facility as claimed”. “No inconvenience was caused to anyone and the meeting lasted only for seven minutes,” Goa’s Panchayati Raj Minister Mauvin Godinho had told reporters yesterday after the complaint by Rodrigues.
However, Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar today said, “People had gathered outside the airport on their own spontaneously to see Amit Shah. We had not planned any meeting.” Even the dais and chairs were set up by some people in the crowd, he claimed.
Shah, who arrived in Goa by a regular flight, was in the airport building for 10-15 minutes as people thronged to greet him, Tendulkar said. “The supporters arranged a welcome function impromptu,” he said. “If Congress wants, it can have a similar reception for Sonia Gandhi,” he told The Indian Express.
When reached for comments, Negi said he was on leave on Saturday and was looking into the matter.