August 2, 2021 12:18:50 am
Even as section 144 continues to be in force in the state, political workers from the Congress and BJP gathered in large numbers in Sanquelim in North Goa, the assembly constituency of chief minister Pramod Sawant. While Congress workers led by Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar carried out a ‘Sadbuddhi yatra” after Sawant’s statement in the Goa legislative assembly on Wednesday about the safety of minors being a shared responsibility between the government and their parents, the BJP, with Sawant’s wife Sulakshana Sawant in the lead also took to the streets to dis the Congress that walked out of the assembly while ‘important bills’ were passed in the session that concluded Friday.
While Congress workers were rounded up by the police near the Sanquelim hospital. A tearful Congress worker Devsurabhi Yaduvanshi told news channels that policewomen had manhandled her and torn her kurta.
Sawant, who stoked a controversy after his statement in the legislative assembly on July 28, had said, “Ten people went to a party on the beach of which six went home and four stayed back on the beach all night – two boys and two girls. They are 14-year-old children. Parents in Goa should also think about this. They also need to take care. You cannot only blame the government and the police. If 14-15 year-olds stay on the beach all night, we need to think about this. Parents are also responsible,” Sawant had said in the assembly on Wednesday.
His statement came after opposition MLAs brought up “collapse of law and order” after the rape of two minor girls near Benaulim beach in South Goa on July 25.
Later, Sawant had clarified in the assembly, “I have said that the responsibility is on both sides. We have not thrown our hands up. We are shouldering our responsibility…I did not want to hurt anybody’s sentiments and I have not discriminated against anyone. Boys and girls are equal for me. That’s why I said we need to take care of our children and the government will also do its part.”
He said that it is also important to educate children. “Based on our culture, we need to inculcate different values in our children. We have to give them that sanskaar (values). If we inculcate these values, we can bring about a change in society. This society needs to change and if we can bring about that change, then there will be a change in various things like crime.”
On the ground with BJP workers in Sanquelim on Sunday evening, Sulakshana Sawant told news channels, “Some self-proclaimed intellectuals are carrying out a sadbuddhi (wisdom) yatra for the CM. But we need to question their wisdom over other issues.”
Sulakshana Sawant said, “The CM has not discriminated against any gender. All he has said is that just like it is the government’s responsibility to take care of our children, it is also that of the parents…now they (Congress) are going to teach us parenting?” She also told news channels that while the Congress had brought only as many people as there were fingers on the hand symbol, 5,000 BJP workers had gathered in support of “their beloved chief minister” in his assembly constituency.
Even as the rain did not prevent workers of any party from pouring out on the streets of Sanquelim, it appeared to have washed out social distancing norms that the government had advised everyone in the state to follow.
Chodankar said that Congress workers had only brought flowers and candles praying that God grant sadbuddhi (wisdom) to Sawant.
Mahila Congress President Bina Naik said that the CM himself needs to introspect over this statement instead of asking parents of children to think about their ward’s safety.
While the area saw heavy police deployment, Chodankar said their workers were not detained by the police.
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