Goa’s Liberation

Goa remained under Portuguese control when India became independent in 1947. The Indian Government of Jawaharlal Nehru insisted that Goa, along with a few other minor Portuguese holdings, be turned over to India. Portugal amended its constitution so that Goa became a Portuguese province and refused to surrender it. On 3 February 1951, to avert international criticism, Portugal amended her Constitution to declare Goa as an overseas province of Portugal. Being an overseas province of Portugal, the Goan Catholics enjoyed the official rights as Portuguese citizens.

In 1954, unarmed Indians took over the tiny land-locked enclaves of Dadra and Nagar-Haveli. This incident led the Portuguese to lodge a complaint against India in the International Court of Justice at The Hague. The final judgement on this case, given in 1960, held that the Portuguese had a right to the enclaves, but that India equally had a right to deny Portugal access to the enclaves over Goan territory.

In 1955 a group of satyagrahis demonstrated against Portugal. At least 22 of them were killed by Portuguese gunfire. Later the same year, the satyagrahis took over a fort at Tiracol and hoisted the Indian flag. They were driven away by the Portuguese, with a number of casualties. On 1 September 1955, the Indian Consulate in Goa was closed. In 1955, Jawaharlal Nehru declared his government would not tolerate Portuguese presence in Goa. India then instituted a blockade against Goa, Damão and Diu, in an effort to force the Portuguese to leave.

On December 16, 1961, Indian troops crossed the border into Goa. Code named 'Operation Vijay', the move involved sustained land, sea, and air strikes for more than 36 hours; it resulted in the unconditional surrender of Portuguese forces on 19 December. A United Nations resolution condemning the invasion was proposed by the United States and the United Kingdom in the United Nations Security Council, but it was vetoed by the USSR.

Under Indian rule, Goan voters went to the polls in a referendum and elected to become an autonomous, federally administered territory. After annexation by India, the area was under military rule for five months, but the previous civil service was soon restored and the area became a federally administered territory.

Goa celebrates its "Liberation Day" on 19 December every year, which is also a state holiday. Goa attained Statehood in 1987.

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