Tribals call Goa DGP ‘General Dyer’June 20th, 2011 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, June 20 (IANS) Outraged tribal leaders here Monday called Goa’s Director General of Police (DGP) the ‘General Dyer of Goa’, after the top cop Saturday said that he would have “ordered fire” during a tribal rights agitation on May 25.
Convenor of the United Tribal Associations Alliance (UTAA) Prakash Velip told reporters that the state administration should immediately transfer or suspend DGP Aditya Arya for his “insensitive”, “inflammatory” and “threatening” comments.
“This is how the state treats its tribal population? The top policeman of Goa says that he will ‘order fire’ on agitating tribals. We can only call him the ‘General Dyer’ of Goa. We do not want such policemen in Goa,” Velip said.
Brigadier General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer was a British Army officer infamous for his ordering firing on unarmed and peacefully assembled Indians at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, in 1919. In the cold-blooded firing Dyer ordered on April 13 that year, over 300 persons were massacred while over a thousand were injured in Jallainwala Bagh.
DGP Aditya Arya was participating in a workshop on human rights, organised by the International Centre Goa and chaired by former chief justice of India J.S. Verma, when he was asked to respond to a query on ineffective police action during a May 25 tribal rights agitation at Balli, 40 km from here.
“The leaders had lost control of the agitation. Several vehicles were burnt by the mob… had I been there, I would have ordered firing,” Arya said, causing much consternation amongst tribal ranks as well as the opposition.
“Arya is trying to inflame the passions of the tribals by threatening us using insensitive language. We demand his immediate transfer or suspension,” Velip said.
The opposition has already said that Arya’s comments mirrored the insensitiveness of the Congress-led alliance government towards welfare of tribals, who account for 12 per cent of Goa’s 14 lakh population.
“The DGP is saying that he would have ordered firing on tribals agitating for their rights at a human rights seminar and that too on June 18. This only shows how insensitive this government has become. It looks like we are back into Portugal’s dictatorial regime,” BJP general secretary Govind Parvatkar had said.
Two tribal activists were burnt alive May 25 by local thugs at Balli, even as the police watched it happen, according to the findings of a magisterial inquiry ordered by the Goa government.