Cong to launch Tiranga rally at controversial IIT-Goa campus site

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Panaji, Jan 13 (IANS) A day after differences emerged between Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane over the proposed construction of the Indian Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Goa campus in North Goa’s Melaulim village, the opposition Congress on Wednesday announced the launch of a ‘Tiranga Yatra’ at the controversial site.

The ‘Tiranga Yatra’, according to state Congress President Girish Chodankar, would be held on January 17 and was being staged to “express solidarity with the protesting villagers of Melaulim and nearby villages”.

“The peaceful and democratic protests of the villagers from Melaulim has been met with police action, torture and harassment. Through the yatra we want to show the rest of Goa is with them. The Tiranga is a symbol of peace, equality and brotherhood,” Chodankar said.

Ever since an IIT was allotted to Goa by the Central government in 2014, the institute has been functioning from a temporary campus shared by the Goa Engineering College in Farmagudi village in South Goa.

The two sites previously identified by the state government in Canacona and Sanguem sub-districts, for setting up a permanent campus for the IIT were dropped in the face of protests from local residents, and after pressure from the Opposition, which had alleged a land scam in the shortlisting of sites for the technology institute.

The villagers of Melaulim, many of whom are tribals, claimed that they are being forcibly evicted from their landholdings by the Goa government to make way for the IIT.

The protests took a violent turn last week forcing the Goa Health Minister and local MLA Vishwajit Rane to oppose the IIT campus project.

Rane has blamed the police department under the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led Home Ministry for lending a violent edge to the protests last week.

More than 100 protestors have already been booked, many of them under non-bailable sections, including attempt to murder charges.

–IANS

maya/khz/bg