PANJIM: This news comes with double shock. There is official confirmation that there are at least 27,000 Goans who hold both Portuguese and Indian passports in clear violation of Indian law. And second, all of these 27,000 who have voted in an Indian elections inspite of being Portuguese nationals, will have their names, finally struck off the rolls for the 2017 elections
The State Chief Electoral Office (CEO) has decided to delete their names from the electoral lists, as the laws do not provide for dual citizenship. Based on data submitted by the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO), the CEO has noted that there are 27,000 Goans holding Portuguese passport-cum-citizenship. Directions have been issued to all taluka level election officers to delete these names from the voters list. The State Assembly elections are due in 2017.
“The decision has been taken following directions from the Election Commission of India (ECI), who opined that as per the Representation of People’s Act and the Election Rules, one has to be an Indian citizen to cast ones vote. Also the concept of dual citizenship does not exist in the country,” Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Navti told Herald.
SP FRRO Vimal Gupta said the Election Commission had sought the number of Goans holding Portugal nationality and details were submitted about a fortnight ago
Navti said that over the years, the CEO has deleted over 8,000 to 10,000 names of the Goans for holding Portuguese nationality. “In January, several voters, who opted for Portuguese passports, had sent applications that they should be allowed to vote. The same was forwarded to the ECI for decision. ECI is of the view, that these applications cannot be entertained,” Navti said.
As per data available with the CEO, 2,200 people have changed their nationality in Goa in the financial year 2012-13, which means an average six people a day. From January to August 2015, there were 2158 people who gave up their Indian passports at the Regional Passport Office in Panjim, after acquiring Portuguese passports. The year 2014 saw 1,660 passports being surrendered.
Apart from those holding Portuguese passports, there are thousands who have registered their births in Portugal — a provision offered by the State’s former colonial rulers to those born before Goa's liberation in 1961 and to their children — but holding neither a Portuguese passport nor a cartao de cidadao (citizen’s card).
The fate of these people will be decided by the Special Authority, the District Collectors appointed by the Union Home Ministry to deal with the citizenship issue.