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Dec 19: Goa Liberation Day

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History of Goa’s freedom
Goa, the Indian state on its southwestern coast was under the rule of the Portuguese for around 450 years. While the rest of the country got its independence on 15 August 1947 from British rule, the people of Goa were still suffering under Portuguese rule. The state’s struggle for independence is the forgotten war for freedom. The fight for freedom in the state started on 18 June 1946 after Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and Dr. Juliao Menezes decided to defy the ban on public meetings in the state. While the first civil disobedience movement was quashed by the Portuguese, it inspired the people of Goa to fight for their independence.

The state continued to be under the control of the Portuguese until 1961 even though India attained independence 14 years ago. This is because Portugal was a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Indian government didn’t want to get into a conflict with a NATO nation. However, when the Portuguese fired at Indian fisherman and tried to take villagers as hostage in November 1961, the then Defence minister of the country Krishna Menon urged Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to use force and regain the state. As many as 30,000 Indian troops were sent to the state to regain control as part of a plan named ‘Operation Vijay’. They were fully supported by air and naval forces. Once the armed forces sent, the state was liberated from Portuguese rule within 48 hours.

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