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Roque Santana: man who wanted Goa free

In the summer of 1927,  Velim witnessed the birth of a unique baby boy who's 
parents named him 'Roque Santana.' The tragic death of his mother when he 
was very young resulted in his move to Bombay where he lived in a community 
apartment(refered to as "Koud").

At a very young age Roque Santana knew what he was called for - to fight for 
the liberation of his land. Influenced by his elder cousin Amarante D'costa 
and the speeches of Mahatma Gandhi to work for the freedom of Goa, Roque 
Santana's first contribution to Goa's Liberation came in Dec 1949, during 
Christmas holidays. While most teenagers of his age were busy helping their 
parents make Christmas sweets, Roque Santan was making preparations to 
sabotage the reception organized for the Portuguese Governor General, Capt 
Quintanilha Medonca Dias at the Indo -Portuguese Institute at Dhobitalao, 
Bombay. The then Portuguese Consul filed a criminal case against him and 
others in the Bombay Metropolitan Magistrate court for destroying a large 
size photograph of Dr Olivera Salazar. This was a courageous act undertaken 
by Roque Santana towards the liberation movement at a very young age.

In 1950 Roque Santana was in Goa to carry on underground pro-liberation 
activities. He was arrested in Hotel Salcette Margao, while having lunch 
with his friends. The Portuguese Military court sentenced him to 20 months 
rigorous imprisonment to be spent in Aguada Jail.

In June of 1952 he and four others headed in a borrowed car loaded with 
ammunition to conduct an attack on one of Chandor's Police depots. The plan 
was foiled due to the pro-Portuguese Goan elements who leaked the 
information to the Portuguese police, Roque Santana's accomplices and the 
car came under police cross fire which got him grievously injured.

His survival was considered a miracle, but soon after his recovery he was 
sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 18 years in solitary confinement in 
Aguada Jail.

Roque Santana did not stop working for Goa after liberation. After 
liberation he worked with Goa's poor for equality, against caste system, 
corruption, etc. Santana was elected a Member of the legislative assembly 
for two consecutive terms for the then Cuncolim constituency.

He was awarded a 'Tambra Patra.' A rare honour awarded to a handful of 
freedom fighters in the whole country.


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