New Delhi: Goa will observe Chieftains Martyrs Day, which marks the first revolt against Portuguese rule, in Delhi every year on July 15 in a bid to popularise the little-known aspects of the state’s history across India.
Union Minister Shripad Yesso Naik, who has been elected to the Lok Sabha from north Goa, will lead a delegation of freedom fighters and Goa government officials to pay homage to martyrs at the National War Memorial here, the state’s Resident Commissioner Sanjeev Ahuja told PTI.
The Chieftains Martyrs Day is an important milestone in Goa’s history. On July 15, 1583, village heads of Cuncolim in South Goa revolted against Portuguese rule by killing five Jesuit priests, who had visited the village for forcible conversion to Christianity, and 14 locals.
The local Portuguese garrison retaliated by executing 15 village chieftains who participated in the revolt. One, however, managed to escape and lived to tell the tale of the brutalities. The 16 chieftains were invited by the Portuguese to the Assolna fortress unarmed for peace talks and were attacked once the heavy doors closed behind them.
After killing 15 chieftains, the Portuguese razed the temples in Cuncolim, and the traditional system of land sharing and the institution of Gram Samstha were destroyed, a senior official said.
The villagers later constructed a memorial to honour the chieftains as true martyrs of Cuncolim.
Goa has decided to observe July 15 as the day to mark the Cuncolim revolt. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had termed the 1583 revolt as the first not only in Goa but in the entire country against colonial powers.