Issue of dual citizenship in Goa flares up
In 2012, Mr. Kashinath Shetye, a right to information activist, had pointed that many government officials of Goa were holding dual citizenship and were a potential threat to national security. He had charged that many individuals were having dual citizenship - both of India and Portugal. When the police failed to act on his complaint, he was forced to approach the JMFC judge Bosco G F Roberts who directed the crime branch of the State police to register an FIR. On his complaint, the Panaji Town Police has now booked nearly 600 people for illegally having dual citizenship including two senior police officials, 48 advocates and over 500 others.
The police officials against whom the case has been booked are:
· Superintendent of Police Juse Allan De Sa,
· Police Inspector Edwin Colaco
The case has also been booked against six unknown persons working under the Bombay High Court at Goa apart from over 500 unknown persons working/retired in government service in Goa and others. These persons had allegedly acquired the citizenship of Portugal prior to February 4, 2013, by obtaining the ‘Bilhete de Identidade’ without surrendering the citizenship of India. The police said they are investigating the case.
The case has been registered under:
· Section 14 of Foreigners Act,
· Section 4&5 of Registration of Foreigners Act and
· Section 12 of Passport Act for holding citizenship of India and Portugal.
The police is yet to file an FIR against BJP MLA Glen Ticlo and Goa Vikas Party MLA Caetano 'Caitu' Silva who too have been accused to possess the dual citizenship. They have obtained stay orders from the High Court in their favour.
The issue of dual citizenship is said to affects nearly 40,000 Goans who have registered their names in Portuguese birth registry in Lisbon. This facility was offered by Portugal to the citizens of their erstwhile colony, and many Goans who were oblivious of the fact that their voting rights in India could be challenged had opted for this choice. Better economic prospects and a desire to gains access to European Union in pursuit of a career had perhaps blindfolded them.