Herald: 2011 Balli riot bravehearts gone but not forgotten

2011 Balli riot bravehearts gone but not forgotten

21 Jun 2015 02:42am IST

Report by
KARSTEN MIRANDA

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21 Jun 2015 02:42am IST

Report by
KARSTEN MIRANDA

In the heart of two remote tribal villages, Morpilla in Quepem and Gaondogrim, the sacrifice of the two homegrown youth - Dilip Velip and Mangesh Gaonkar, who died in the Balli riots on May 25, 2011, is still fresh and not forgotten.


Sadly, while the government through the tribal welfare department, whose minister and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar survived the bloodcurdling riots, organizes ‘Sankalp Din’ every death anniversary, the village feels this is just a token of remembrance.

Both the families of the two victims and their close friends acknowledge that they have been given compensation from the government and jobs but insist that the only way of doing justice to the legacy of the two brave hearts is to give in to their demands, for which they agitated and suffered a macabre death.

Incidentally, United Tribal Associations Alliance (UTAA) organizes ‘Prerna Din’ to observe the death anniversary and had submitted a charter of 12 demands to the government.

UTAA’s demands like filling of 2000 vacancies reserved for tribal people and 12 political reservations in the Goa legislative assembly are yet to be fulfilled. The two deceased tribal youth had participated in earlier protests as well on December 16, 2009 and January 5, 2010 to fight for these issues.

“They were not fighting for themselves but the ST population. Mangesh was bright and intelligent and could have pursued better prospects for a living out of Goa but was always known to take up these issues from a small age. Dilip was married and his wife was pregnant at that time. He also had a young daughter and a widowed mother,” said a close friend of the two.

The 26 year old Dilip who was a peon working at the Directorate of Health Services in Vasco, left his house late at night on May 24 and met his friend Mangesh, a part time contract employee at Goa Medical College, in Poinguinim. The to-be martyrs then travelled to Quepem to meet the UTAA leaders and spent their last night at Balli in anticipation of the rally the next day where 10,000 fellow tribal folk laid siege to several vital sections on the National Highway-17. However, the two boys were charred to death after being beaten up and could not escape the fire as they found themselves stuck within the burning walls of the Adarsh building which locals believe was meant for major tribal leaders.

Tribal population dissatisfied with injustice towards them

The tribal community expresses their dissatisfaction over the negligence of the government towards them. Despite having one of their own in office, there is still a glaring neglect shown towards them.

BASURI DESSAI files the ground report

Mangesh Gaonkar, residence at Gaondogrim

At Gaondogrim, Mangesh’s father Nagesh, friends and the community have built a memorial at their residence and part of the compensation money was used for that. With pain he talks of a future where his son would have been 30 by now and felt the sky was the limit for him. His neighbours concur with Nagesh and talk highly of their village hero’s youth and how he was often a voice for the unheard. They fondly remember the kind of promise and potential the youth had shown when he was alive. “He was a bachelor and very active and popular in college. If he had to get married, the full village would have celebrated,” quipped his college mate.

Nagesh and his life Laxmi sleep on uncovered cots in their small house like all others in the village but they don’t complain of economic difficulties. For him, his son died doing what he always did - fighting for justice. The parents are happy that their children are settled, two of their three daughters have been married to defence personnel who live nearby and the last one is a B.ED student. Mangesh’s brother Raju works with the PWD at Canacona, a job he got as part of the compensation. Nagesh who has been busy with the cashew season said people should follow the principles of his son and always stand and work towards the betterment of their community.

Dilip Velip residence at Morpilla

At Morpilla, in the remotest of areas, resided brave heart Dilip Velip. When Deepa’s husband Dilip left their residence that fateful night, she was carrying his second child and waiting for him to come back as their daughter Divya was always a ‘daddy’s girl and keeping her entertained while she missed her father was always a task.

Little did she know that life would never be the same. The devastated family is still heartbroken.

There are a lot of women from the neighbourhood who have been a support system to the family as Deepa raises her son Daksh who never met his father. Dilip’s mother keeps herself busy collecting firewood and cooking. Deepa got a government job at the Water Resources department in Quepem and their house was renovated with the compensation money.

A teacher in Cuncolim who knows the family well said that Dilip was always a man who took responsibility of his family’s welfare very seriously and spent all his life trying to ensure that his family live a better life. He recalled that Dilip was overjoyed that he was to have a second child and his dream for his family life was complete and had plans a plenty of what he would do next. Dilips’s friend said the worst tragedy was that Dilip would never be there to watch his children grow up.In the heart of two remote tribal villages, Morpilla in Quepem and Gaondogrim, the sacrifice of the two homegrown youth - Dilip Velip and Mangesh Gaonkar, who died in the Balli riots on May 25, 2011, is still fresh and not forgotten.

Sadly, while the government through the tribal welfare department, whose minister and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar survived the bloodcurdling riots, organizes ‘Sankalp Din’ every death anniversary, the village feels this is just a token of remembrance.

Both the families of the two victims and their close friends acknowledge that they have been given compensation from the government and jobs but insist that the only way of doing justice to the legacy of the two brave hearts is to give in to their demands, for which they agitated and suffered a macabre death.

Incidentally, United Tribal Associations Alliance (UTAA) organizes ‘Prerna Din’ to observe the death anniversary and had submitted a charter of 12 demands to the government.

UTAA’s demands like filling of 2000 vacancies reserved for tribal people and 12 political reservations in the Goa legislative assembly are yet to be fulfilled. The two deceased tribal youth had participated in earlier protests as well on December 16, 2009 and January 5, 2010 to fight for these issues.

“They were not fighting for themselves but the ST population. Mangesh was bright and intelligent and could have pursued better prospects for a living out of Goa but was always known to take up these issues from a small age. Dilip was married and his wife was pregnant at that time. He also had a young daughter and a widowed mother,” said a close friend of the two.

The 26 year old Dilip who was a peon working at the Directorate of Health Services in Vasco, left his house late at night on May 24 and met his friend Mangesh, a part time contract employee at Goa Medical College, in Poinguinim. The to-be martyrs then travelled to Quepem to meet the UTAA leaders and spent their last night at Balli in anticipation of the rally the next day where 10,000 fellow tribal folk laid siege to several vital sections on the National Highway-17. However, the two boys were charred to death after being beaten up and could not escape the fire as they found themselves stuck within the burning walls of the Adarsh building which locals believe was meant for major tribal leaders.

Tribal population dissatisfied with injustice towards them

The tribal community expresses their dissatisfaction over the negligence of the government towards them. Despite having one of their own in office, there is still a glaring neglect shown towards them.

BASURI DESSAI files the ground report

Mangesh Gaonkar, residence at Gaondogrim

At Gaondogrim, Mangesh’s father Nagesh, friends and the community have built a memorial at their residence and part of the compensation money was used for that. With pain he talks of a future where his son would have been 30 by now and felt the sky was the limit for him. His neighbours concur with Nagesh and talk highly of their village hero’s youth and how he was often a voice for the unheard. They fondly remember the kind of promise and potential the youth had shown when he was alive. “He was a bachelor and very active and popular in college. If he had to get married, the full village would have celebrated,” quipped his college mate.

Nagesh and his life Laxmi sleep on uncovered cots in their small house like all others in the village but they don’t complain of economic difficulties. For him, his son died doing what he always did - fighting for justice. The parents are happy that their children are settled, two of their three daughters have been married to defence personnel who live nearby and the last one is a B.ED student. Mangesh’s brother Raju works with the PWD at Canacona, a job he got as part of the compensation. Nagesh who has been busy with the cashew season said people should follow the principles of his son and always stand and work towards the betterment of their community.

Dilip Velip residence at Morpilla

At Morpilla, in the remotest of areas, resided brave heart Dilip Velip. When Deepa’s husband Dilip left their residence that fateful night, she was carrying his second child and waiting for him to come back as their daughter Divya was always a ‘daddy’s girl and keeping her entertained while she missed her father was always a task.

Little did she know that life would never be the same. The devastated family is still heartbroken.

There are a lot of women from the neighbourhood who have been a support system to the family as Deepa raises her son Daksh who never met his father. Dilip’s mother keeps herself busy collecting firewood and cooking. Deepa got a government job at the Water Resources department in Quepem and their house was renovated with the compensation money.

A teacher in Cuncolim who knows the family well said that Dilip was always a man who took responsibility of his family’s welfare very seriously and spent all his life trying to ensure that his family live a better life. He recalled that Dilip was overjoyed that he was to have a second child and his dream for his family life was complete and had plans a plenty of what he would do next. Dilips’s friend said the worst tragedy was that Dilip would never be there to watch his children grow up.
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