Panaji, June 2: Goans who have opted for Portuguese citizenship under a unique provision in Portuguese nationality laws and have not surrendered their Indian citizenship will now have to make a choice between the two, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Thursday.
Calling for a public debate the dual citizenship issue, he also said that he was pained to see large number of Goans thronging to Portugal for a better living, adding that migrating for better prospects was alright, but further arguing that people should not cut off their roots and opt for foreign citizenship.
"People who queue up outside the Portuguese consulate braving sun and rains should think. They have to think whether they want this relation to break. We may migrate for basic necessities, but when taking another citizenship and surrendering this one, one should think," Parsekar said, adding that there was no scope for dual citizenship.
"It is a point of introspection for all of us. I do not want to hurt anyone, but it is an important issue and the media should discuss this. As chief minister, I am pained," he added.
Parsekar's comment come two days after media reports, citing a Union Home Ministry committee report, said that nearly two lakh Goans who had obtained a Portuguese passport or a Bilhete de Identidade and had also at the same time, retained their Indian citizenship, would have to make a choice between the two.
Goa was one of the oldest colonies of the Portugal and was liberated by the Indian army in 1961. After the liberation, all Goan natives were granted Indian citizenship by the Indian Home ministry via a common notification. However, the departing Portuguese, preferred not to completely snip the umbilical cord by allowing those living in Goa during the Portuguese regime to register their birth in Portugal and avail of citizenship and Portuguese travel identity documents.
The privilege was later extended to two more generations of Goans.
Over the years, nearly two lakh Goans are estimated to have opted for a Portuguese citizenship and at the same time retained their Indian citizenship, creating a unique crisis of sorts.
The Union Home Ministry had appointed a committee under Additional Home Secretary B.K. Prasad to examine the issue after a controversy in which a sitting Goa legislator was accused of holding Portuguese nationality.
Last week during his visit to Goa, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said that an authority would be established in Goa to examine the unique issue case by case.