PANAJI:Former Goa Chief Minister and Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro on Thursday attempted to draw similarities between Mahatma Gandhi’s racist eviction from a South African train in 1893, and his recent experience at a VIP lounge at the state’s Dabolim international airport.
Faleiro, a former member of the Congress Working Committee made the comparison while raising a zero hour motion in the assembly related to non employment of Goans at the state’s only airport.
“The other day, after nearly two or three years, I went to the airport. I went to the VIP lounge. They asked me who are you? I said (in response), from where are you? Are you from Goa?” said Faleiro, who has served as Goa Chief Minister twice.
“Honourable CM, I did not feel humiliated because this happened to Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa. But I did not expect it to happen to us and in Goa. When MG went to South Africa, at the railway terminal, he was thrown out along with his luggage and baggage. I am just grateful that I was not thrown out with my luggage and baggage from the Goa airport,” Faleiro said.
Faleiro was referring to the eviction of Gandhi from the first class compartment of a train on June 7, 1893, at the Pietermaritzburg railway station in South Africa on racist grounds.
He also said that once they recognised him, the airport staffers posted at the VIP lounge were “extremely polite”.
Faleiro said that there was “hostile discrimination” vis a vis recruitment of native Goans at the airport.
“Goa’s airport is an international airport. All of us have been travelling through the Dabolim airport. But there is a very sad and humanitarian issue. And especially this issue has been affecting Goa and Goans who had been working at the Dabolim airport,” Faleiro said.