By Dominick Rodrigues
Panaji/ Mumbai Nov 26: Prominent national award-winning social activist Rajan Ghate, who is on an indefinite fast-unto-death at the Azad Maidan here in demanding the resignation of the ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, survived a late-night attack on him by criminal who was forcing him to give up his fast. The attack was foiled by Ghate’s associates.
The attacker was detained by police and identified as a history sheeter named Shaikh Rauf, who claimed to be the vice-president of an NGO called “Amche Goy Amche Lok.”
Ghate told mediapersons that the accused had offered to pay him Rs 5 crores if he gave up his nine-day-long unending fast and that he would transfer this amount from Margao into Ghate’s bank account.
Ghate was later shifted to the Goa Medical College here by the authorities following his condition reported to be deteriorating by the hospital. However, reiterating that he had not broken his fast and would continue it on discharge from the hospital, the activist said “My fast will continue till the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar resigns or gives this as additional portfolio to his cabinet ministers.”
The Collector of North Goa had on November 23 issued directions to the SDPO Panjim to shift Ghate to the GMC for treatment as doctors monitoring him had advised treatment for his deteriorating condition. Ghate’s supporters alleged that he had been threatened of being forcibly taken on stretcher if he did not agree to be taken to the hospital for treatment.
Ghate had sprung into the limelight after his opposition towards illegal sale of Goa lands to foreigners, and his act of using a tow tractor to plough such areas. During his present fast, he was joined by over 100 supporters comprising politicians, activists, lawyers and others including the “People’s March for Restoration of Governance in Goa” which has decided to hold a demonstration during Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari’s visit to Goa on December 12.
Meanwhile, the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar said he would sit on a day-long fast alongside the activist to highlight his support and the Goa Government’s “arrogance, inhumanity, carelessness and selfish behavior” towards Ghate’s condition.
Pointing out the need for a working chief minister for Goa, he said this was a struggle for Parliamentary democracy and governance in Goa and reflected the people’s demands, not just the Congress as an opposition party.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) also condemned the attack on the social activist while noting that due to the CM being sick, the Goa government’s administration and functioning is paralyzed in the state. Describing the present government as very troubled and sleeping, NCP General Secretary Sanjay Barde demanded that the ruling political parties comprising BJP, MGP and Goa Forward Party should work towards getting a new chief minister.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is reported to be suffering from pancreatic cancer since mid-February 2018 and was medically treated in Delhi and the USA before currently recuperating at his private residence in Goa since October 14.