Freedom fighters protest Goan monuments in Portuguese 7 wonders list

June 14th, 2009 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, June 14 (IANS) Freedom fighters in Goa have raised strong objections to the listing of the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa and Fortress of Diu among the seven wonders of Portuguese origin in the world.
Goa Freedom Fighters Association (GFFA) spokesman Naguesh Karmali told IANS that Portugal had no business to say that either of the two historic architectural marvels were of Portuguese origin.

“The laterite stone used to build the basilica was sourced from Goa. The limestone used to reinforce it was from Goa. The wood used for roof arches was from Goa. The Portuguese have no business saying these structures are Portguese in origin,” he said.

He also noted that forced labour - prisoners of the Inquisition - was used to build these monuments. “The labourers were indigenous, who worked till they dropped dead,” Karmali said, adding that the GFFA had asked the state government to raise the matter with the central government.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa is a world heritage site listed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural organisation (UNESCO). It contains the remains of Catholic saint Francis Xavier and attracts millions of devotees throughout the world each year.

The seven wonders, selected through an internet and telephone vote and endorsed by the Portuguese government’s ministry of culture, were made public June 10.

The seven wonders of Portuguese origin, also include the fortress of Mazagao in Morocco, old town of Santiago in Cape Verde, convents of Saint Francis of Assisi and St. Francis in Brazil and the church of St. Paul in Macau.

The GFFA comprises of nearly 1,500 freedom fighters, who fought the Portuguese colonial regime which ruled Goa for nearly 450 years, before it was liberated by the Indian army in 1961.

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