Panaji, Jan 8: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government of Goa on Friday slammed the state Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Jose Phillip D'Souza a day after he said he did not know who Veer Savarkar was.
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said D'Souza should take lessons on Indian history from his party supremo Sharad Pawar.
Speaking to reporters, Parsekar said D'Souza should spend a few hours in the same prison cell in Andaman Nicobar islands where Savarkar was incarcerated in the pre-Independence era.
"I have spent a couple of inspiring hours there... If he does not know who Savarkar is, he should ask his party president Sharad Pawar about how great a freedom fighter he was," Parsekar said when asked about D'Souza's comments on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference at the party's state headquarters, D'Souza objected to the proposed naming of a government-run art centre at Baina town, 40 km from Panaji, after Savarkar.
"They want to name the Ravindra Bhavan after Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. My question is, who is he, whether he is from Goa or from another country... we do not know," D'Souza said.
Parsekar on Friday also clarified that there was no proposal with the government to name the structure after Savarkar.
D'Souza's comments also irked another top minister, Sudin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, who claimed that with his ignorance about Savarkar, D'Souza has "insulted freedom fighters".
"I want to ask whether D'Souza is an Indian citizen at all, if he has not heard of Savarkar," Dhavalikar said.
Savarkar was a freedom fighter and served as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha. He was arrested in connection with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and later acquitted of all charges.