Meet favours autonomy and depoliticisation of Goa police

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Panaji, Mar 2 (UNI) Prominent citizens of different hues, here today, favoured total autonomy and depoliticisation of the state police force for ensuring effective maintenance of law and order.

They expressed concern about the February 19 attack on Panjim headquarters police station by a mob led by Taleigao MLA Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate and vandalism in retaliation by the cops.

Participating in a well-attended public meeting organised by NGO Utt Goenkara, former chief secretary of Goa, Dr J C Almeida, who also presided over the meeting, lamented that there was a ''total breakdown of the government and administrative machinery'' on the night of February 19.

''Lust for power has totally eroded the moral fabric of the politicians and the administration in Goa,'' he said.

Stating that Goa might have been better off as a union territory, Mr Almeida said the Centre had lost control over the functioning of Goa after it attained statehood.

''Unless there is a check and change in the mindset of the administration and fresh faces were not inducted into the legislative assembly, the future of Goa is bleak,'' he observed.

Initiating the discussion earlier, the NGO spokesman Advocate Aires Rodrigues called for a police-public partnership for protecting the society and maintaining law and order.

A spate of public demonstrations and a large number of public interest litigations filed against the government in Goa indicate the pathetic state of administration, Mr Rodrigues said.

Castigating the people of Goa for electing wrong people for the Legislature, former DSP Santoba Desai said, ''People get the government they deserve.'' Former speaker Tomazinho Cardoso called for setting up of citizens' forums in every village for the people to defend their rights.

Lashing at the police for manhandling Monserrates and ransacking their home on the February 19 night, UGDP leader Atanasio Viegas lamented that criminals were occupying positions of power.

Former power minister Nirmala Sawant censured police manhandling of North Goa Zilla Panchayat member Ms Jennifer Monserrate in connection with the attack on the station house.

Earlier, the participants were shown a 10-minute video on the episode.

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