The All Goa Banjara Samaj has sought an apology from Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Azgaonkar for saying that Lamanis “do not fit in” with the coastal culture of the state,
Lamanis are a nomadic tribe that is settled in Goa for decades. A section of their floating population is involved in seasonal tourism trade, selling beach accessories and trinkets.
Since he took over as minister, MGP leader Azgaonkar has said the “community did not adhere to the Goankarponn (Goan identity)” and also spoke of the community as “being involved in drug peddling across the coastal belt”.
Ravi Chavan, representing the Lamanis in Goa, said, “It is one thing to point fingers at people who deal in illicit trade and another to blacklist an entire community.”
Anand Angadi, another Lamani leader, said, “We will approach right groups for help. A minister cannot target an entire community for the misdeeds of a few miscreants.”
Azgaonkar has maintained that he would not apologise to the Lamanis as he was “describing the manner in which everyone else saw them”.