Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Ticlo’s double whammy and a can of worms

December 9-15, 2013

Team GS

Portuguese PassportsThe Portuguese passport issue has taken on a life of its own and is scorching everyone and their children who used it as a springboard to get into Europe.  Never mind whether Glen Ticlo is the MLA of the Goa Legislative Assembly representing the Aldona assembly constituency, the question now is whether he is an Indian citizen at all.  So logically he should be deported, but the big question is where to because he has been described as “stateless” after having cancelled his Portuguese links in January this year. The ticklish question here is, did Ticlo double whammy himself?

And what about, south Congress leader Churchill Alemao, who started the whole debate on Benaulim MLA Caitu Silva’s citizenship issue, so that his daughter Valanka could step in as the legislator or even he himself (if there’s a by-election) because he’s planning to step back into the ring.  Touche' Churchill because he is now grappling with the classic case of pointing one finger and having the remaining four fingers directed at him.  Of course, in his case, not only is he himself  under a cloud because his marriage was registered in Portugal, but all his children, barring Valanka are in no-man’s land, literally.  According to Elvis Gomes, Caitu’s aide, “Churchill has registered his marriage in Portugal.  His wife, son Savio and daughters Sara, Wanda, Sharon and Aninha are now all Portuguese citizens after they got their births registered in Portugal in 2009”.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive, as Sir Walter Scot said in his poem “Marmion” in 1808.

Is he an Indian citizen?

Glen Ticlo was reluctant to answer the question on his citizenship status when it came up early last month before the Bombay High Court.  He told the court that the Central Government had “directly” issued a notice to him asking him to produce documentary evidence proving his citizenship.  However, Ticlo’s argument was that the “notice has been issued beyond jurisdiction and hence the notice is illegal”.  The court then issued a notice to the centre and directed that it reply within six weeks.  But Ticlo cleverly evaded the question in court.

And outside the court his stand has been that the matter is sub-judice.  In his words, “The matter is in the High Court of Bombay at Goa”.  And, when the controversy over his citizenship status was debated after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently gave an order declaring the Benaulim MLA Caitu Silva a Portuguese national and not an Indian citizen; Ticlo stuck to his stand that the matter was sub-judice.  When a foreigner with no travel document is deported why not Ticlo too?

One argumentin his favour is that Portugal, among many other countries, accepts dual nationality.  But the moot point here is that India does not, so if you want to live in India, then be an Indian citizen, not this nationality of convenience just because your children can go and work abroad.  Or because you can jet-off to Europe at the snap of a finger while Indian citizens have to take the more expensive route of going to foreign embassies for personal interviews (when necessary) and hoping also they don’t get turned down.

Different strokes for different folks

And then you have the Goa police which is shooting in the dark about how to move forward.  Particularly because the home minister who also happens to be Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has been anything but voluble on the issue because Ticlo belongs to his party (BJP) and Caitu belongs to the Goa Vikas Party (GVP) which is aligned with the ruling dispensation.  In fact, it is no secret that Caitu is closer to Parrikar than the GVP.

So their actions so far have been totally arbitrary and partisan.  So while Caitu and Ticlo have been untouched, the Margao police sub-division has registered criminal cases against Majorda Sarpanch Moises Vaz and Margao Municipal Councillor Rosy Pereira for allegedly holding dual citizenship.  But with no direction from Parrikar, the police have not moved forward with the investigation.

There’s a funny side to this also.  Both legislators will be rubbing shoulders with true blue Portuguese officials and athletes at the Lusofonia Games to be held January 18-29 which might cause a bit of embarrassment to all in Goa.  We can see photo-journalists rubbing their hands in glee at this opportunity of a decade.  Unless of course, Parrikar packs them off to Brazil to study the stadiums built for the World Cup 2014.  This happens often in Goa.  There is good reason too this time around.  India has just won its bid to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017and Goa certainly deserves the opportunity to host a few matches.

Double standards galore

Then, you have the Congress party which is also adopting double standards.  It has demanded Caitu’s resignation but it says the aam aadmi who have the Portuguese nationality to facilitate working abroad cannot be clubbed with him.  As Ramakant Khalap, Congress spokesperson puts it, “Mr. Silva has gone in voluntarily to get Portuguese nationality and therefore it will not affect those Goans who had gone abroad for jobs because they are not interested in seeking constitutional positions like the MLA concerned.”  Khalap, a former union law minister, should tell us in which law book he read this kind of logic.

All parties trot out this kind of double standards because there are so many Goans who have opted for Portuguese passports, and it would be disastrous to alienate them.  In fact, the Joint chief electoral officer of the Election Commission Narayan Navti had said in October:  “Over the last one year, 2,200 persons have acquired foreign nationality and therefore had to be deleted from Goa's electoral rolls during the current summary revision.  During the previous years, the number was between 1,500 and 1,700.  Most of these deleted voters have acquired Portuguese nationality because of Goa's traditional links to Portugal”.  But, are these double standards really necessary?  Because in a situation where their names are deleted, these Goans can’t vote in any case.


0 #1 Goencho 2013-12-09 11:53
Lawyers from Goa who have joined politics have been misfits in their legal profession, else they wouldn't have joined politics. We see most of these giving their absurd interpretation of the Citizenship Law, in line with their illiterate counterpart's level of comprehension.

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