Three years after death, social activist gets a tearful funeral; Hundreds from across Goa travel to St Estevam to bid adieu to their comrade
PANJIM: It was still early evening, when after three long years, social activist Bismarque Dias’ mortal remains were laid to rest on Tuesday, at St Estevam. By the time the sun set over the island and darkness came upon it, villagers and friends of the social activist would recall another long night exactly three years ago when they searched for Bismarque, hoping they would find him alive.
To their horror, his body was found the next morning, and for three years the bereaved family refused to conduct the funeral demanding that those involved in the alleged murder of Bismarque be brought to justice.
Justice has still not come, a closure report has been filed, twice, and hundreds of people from across the State came to St Estevam on Tuesday to pay their last respects to Bismarque.
Among them, NCP president Jose Philip D’Souza was the only active politician present for the funeral. Historian Prajal Sakhardande, singer Hema Sardesai, Sudip Dalvi and his other close friends of Bismarque were also present.
Speaking at the funeral mass, Bismarque’s mother said her son has left a strong legacy behind. “He was always helpful and loved nature very much and that took his life,” she said. “He was always telling us that he was being threatened by some people. He fought for the cause to save the village from destruction. I lost my son and it pains me,” she added.
In 2015, after Bismarque went missing, his mother had said there were enough witnesses and evidence with Crime Branch to investigate further and that a lie detector test should be conducted on the two boys who were last seen with Bismarque.
Bismarque a well-known activist and anti-environment crusader went missing on November 5, 2015 night under mysterious circumstances in St Estevam Island. His body was fished out after two days in the tributary of river Mandovi.
The activist had been accompanied by two boys, but the boys claimed that Bismarque went out to swim alone and was not traceable since then.
Friends of late Bismarque including Sudeep Dalvi, Kennedy Afonso and Samir Kelekar had approached the high court with a petition to direct Crime Branch to register death of Bismarque as a murder for further investigation. Almost 45 days later the family members had also filed a same nature petition before the High Court. The bench heard the two petitions together and on April 11, 2017 asked Crime Branch to register an FIR based on the November 7, 2015 complaint filed by family of the deceased.
Mario Dias, younger brother of Bismarque had lodged a complaint at Old Goa Police Station alleging the death to be a murder and not by drowning, on the very day Bismarque’s body was found floating in the waters. However, the Police had not registered the death as murder. The matter was soon transferred to Crime Branch which after a detailed inquiry had concluded that the death was due to drowning in its closure report to the SDM, Tiswadi. It was hereafter that petitions were filed in the High Court demanding a murder FIR.