29 Jan 2023  |   07:20am IST

There is abject ‘goondagiri’ in the Republic of Calangute

Will PM Modi want the rule of law to be sacrificed in this manner, and an elder foreigner victimised? Can the police allow bouncers to hold an old lady hostage in her house for four days without backing from the ‘top’? Goa wants to know who is the ‘guru’ of the Guru of Calangute
There is abject ‘goondagiri’ in the Republic of Calangute

Is Calangute an independent lawless Republic beyond the control of  the law enforcing agencies of Goa, or are the law enforcing agencies the enablers of lawlessness? This is no longer a local story of two people and a property but a reflection of  a State where law and order seems to function like the Banana Republic- or at least in this police station area in question. 

For the fifth day running the residence of an elderly woman, incidentally, a renowned French actor has been blocked by whom she calls “goons” sent by Nirmala Acharya e Souza, (the widow ) of Francisco do Rosario Agnelo Souza, the original owner of the property who had ‘inducted’ her into this house 15 years ago against a payment made by her to peacefully reside here as her own home.

The civil matter of the two women, the widow who “owns” the property after the demise of her husband Francisco do Rosario Agnelo Souza and the French actor Marianne Chicherio, also known as Marianne Borgo, who claimed she paid for and bore all the expenses of the upkeep of this home as her own for 15 years is raging. But it is the aggression bordering on violence  against  Marianne,  a woman, who has claimed visibly evident human rights abuses against her which needs a serious look.

As does the absolute nonchalance of the police, which calls it a civil matter when a strong case for intimidation, aggression, and threats is made out, makes one look at the insinuation of the Borgo that  “hired goons” named in the police complaint and the police are actually on the same side, very closely.

The CM is the Home Minister. Will PM Modi appreciate one police station calling a criminal matter “civil” and allowing the “torture” of an elderly lady as repeatedly stated by her?

Can the Calangute Police rewrite the definition of civil and criminal as it suits them, to protect the gurus of the Guru of Calangute? If a criminal complaint from an elderly lady and that  too a well-known foreigner is ignored and she cannot get out of her house, boxed in by whom she calls “hired” goons, does it give a good image of the country?

Marianne has no power or water; she is steadfast in saying she is being repeatedly harassed. Though she has kept her own security guards, the bouncers, purportedly sent by Nirmala are there and not allowing Marianne to leave. There was a lot of resistance to even allowing the Herald reporter to go into the house. This begs the question. Does Nirmala e Souza,  have any order from the court stating that she can keep bouncers/security men on the premises, and cut off power and water in an open act of intimidation?

Is the PI the final guru?

There is a DGP, IG, and SP North Goa, under the overall supervision of the Chief Secretary and under the final authority of the Chief Minister. 

Don’t they see any reason to intervene only on one  issue? The fact of  Marianne’s literal confinement in her house is obvious to anyone who has been to the spot. However, for the sake of a proper investigation, the complaint needs to be registered as an FIR, a statement recorded, and an investigation done. 

But does the CM know that far from investigating, the police seem to have “predicted the case” by saying a) Marianne has got her men, it’s a civil matter and since she’s opening her door she’s not a hostage?

The real question is not being asked. Since no one questioned her right to live in that property for 15 years, why this now in this manner?

A civil suit can go on, and a suit for eviction can be filed, but the police have not acted on a complaint of extra-constitutional actions not backed by any court order or law, without even registering a case. Therefore,  let us reflect on the general narrative there is. This isn’t a simple case of anger of the widow of the original owner, who had an extremely cordial relationship with Marianne and did not even think of asking her to vacate the property for which she claims she has paid.  Without the backing of “higher powers”, this kind of police casualness and inaction on the criminal aspect of the issue is not possible.

 Suppose one takes Nirmala’s argument that the property is hers, it still falls in the area of claims and counterclaims that the court will decide. However, the complaint of bouncers of Nirmala threatening Marianne and she being trapped in her house, is beyond any civil jurisdiction. It is a clear criminal complaint in which the police seem not even remotely interested in and appear to be clearly siding with the forces against Marianne.

The issue is not about who owns the property and Marianne’s right to be there. The civil courts can decide that. The courts will also decide if Marianne, who has lived here for 15 years can continue to live there till the civil matter is disposed of or be evicted as an illegal settler through a proper process of eviction laid out by the court. The issue is, who are non-state actors and extra-constitutional bouncers or guards in the property when it is not decided by the court who should be in possession?

The reported threats, intimidation, not allowing access to others to the house, or not allowing her to leave, construes a case of obstruction of her liberties which the police are duty bound to investigate and not dismiss as a civil matter. By doing so, Goa and the country are getting a bad name. Is this what Goa wants and would the PM be fine when such a case is making international news and is being raised diplomatically?

The Calangute Police Station and the rest of the Goa Police need to assure the people that  this police station functions in the same India and follows the same constitution as the rest. That is not happening now.


Iddhar Udhar