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Breif History of Freedom Struggle (1946-1962) of Late Veteran Freedom Fighter, Narayan Hari Naik

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Narayan Hari Naik was born on Narayan Hari Naik was born on 28th October 1926 at Village Taleigao near Panaji, Goa. He joined the struggle for liberation of Goa at a young age of 19 years in June 1946, after Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia gave a call to the Goan youth to join the same.

On 19th June 1946, he and two of his colleagues, namely Laxmidas Borkar and Bablo Singbal, under the guidance of their teacher Shri Manpat Shah, led a group of students to the Panaji Police Headquarters to protest against the arrest of Dr. Lohia after his historic speech at Margao on 18th June 1946. The Portuguese police attacked the peacefully protesting students, beating them with belts, boots and batons. They did not spare even the children and women during this attack. The student leaders were dragged, continuously hit by kicks and belts, and detained at the Panaji Police Headquarters. They were finally released later in the night, after a stern warning.

Undeterred by the warning, Narayan Naik joined the Goa National Congress as a volunteer and attended training camp for conducting Satyagrahas and peaceful protests at Satarda. He also attended a training camp at Belgao where leaders like Dr. Lohia and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay guided the volunteers. At the end of the training, Narayan Naik and his two friends Borkar and Singbal were given the responsibility of spreading and strengthening the movement among the Goan youth and holding Satyagrahas at Sanguem, Quepem and Canacona under the guidance of Dr. Narayan Bhembre.

On 18th December 1946, Narayan Naik offered Satyagraha at Sanguem, following which he was arrested and tortured mercilessly. The Portuguese police first attempted to drown him in a water body, he was beaten with belts and kicked around. He was then dragged to the the police station and he was thrown on the floor and beaten on the soles with palmatreo, a baton with flat perforated end, after holding him immobile. He was left shivering in his drenched clothes and by late night he suffered from high fever. He was neither given any food nor dry clothes. This torture went on for some days and finally, after shaving his head and sternly warning him to quit the agitation, they released him. After his release, it took him over two weeks to recover from the injuries of the assault and torture.

Disappointed by the kind of inhuman treatment meted out to the volunteers who followed Gandhian way of Satyagraha and peaceful protests; Narayan Naik, along with his like-minded colleagues like, Vishwanath Lawande, Dattatraya Deshpande, Tukaram Kankonkar, Prabhakar Sinari, etc., founded a revolutionary outfit for armed rebellion, Azad Gomantak Dal. This outfit gained support from many young Goans who joined them in various capacities in the fight against the oppressive Portuguese regime.

Narayan Naik played crucial role in the many daring missions which were conducted by the Azad Gomantak Dal to strengthen the liberation movement. Some of the prominent actions among them were the attacks on Old Goa Police Station, Mapusa Fazenda and attack on the manager of Banquo Nacional Ultramarino at Porvorim.

Agitated after this spate of attacks by the AGD volunteers, the Portuguese Government realized the seriousness of the movement and commenced a massive operation to comb out and arrest them by engaging the secret service Policia Internacional e de Defesa do Estado (PIDE), and the local Police.

The Portuguese police after being tipped by a local about Tukaram Kankonkar being involved in the revolutionary activities, on 7th December 1947, arrested Narayan Naik and Mukund Dhakankar as identified by the local informer as friends of Tukaram Kankonkar. As this news spread, Tukaram Kankonkar and Vishwanath Lawande managed to cross Goan borders and took shelter in Maharashtra; however, others like Prabhakar Sinari, Babla Singbal, Dattatray Deshpande, Jaiwant Kunde, Raghuvir Kamat, Madan Kolwalkar were soon arrested.

All of them were taken to Panaji Police Headquarters and except Babla Singbal who was released, all the seven were taken into police custody and tortured for weeks without any legal sanction.

In the month of January of 1948, they were taken into Mapusa Police custody. All the seven were locked in a small cell where they were made to sleep on ground without any beddings. No food was provided to them and they were told to get food from outside. They were handcuffed together in pairs and had to do all their daily chores in handcuffed state. They were periodically beaten and tortured by the police.

In the first week of February 1948, soon after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhiji on 30th January, Narayan Naik and his colleagues were taken to the Fort Aguada Jail for the first time. Here, they were dumped into a dark dungeon-like hall at the bottom of the fort. Some of the leaders of the National Congress Goa like Dr. Vinayak Mayenkar, P.P. Shirodkar, Guilhermo Ticlo,, Nilkanth Karapurkar who were arrested in December were already imprisoned at Fort Aguada Jail; however, they were classified as political prisoners and were given rooms in the upper area from where they had a panoramic view of the sea.

As a revolutionary group, Narayan Naik and his colleagues were not allowed to mingle with other prisoners. They were again handcuffed in pairs and had to struggle to do routine chores, to get food and even to get some fresh air. They protested against this discriminatory and inhuman treatment and began a hunger fast. Due to the constant protests and complaints, Narayan Naik, and four of his colleagues were soon transferred to the Fort Reis Magos Jail. The Reis Magos jail was very unhygienic. The walls and the floor of the cells were dampened with sewage water from the upper quarters. There was no ventilation except a small grilled vent. Some of the prisoners, including Prabhakar Sinari, also contracted Malaria. Disgusted with these conditions, Sinari made an unsuccessful attempt to escape the jail by jumping from the wall of the Fort while dumping the garbage. After this incident they were sent to Margao Civil jail in the month of June 1949.

Fort Reis Magos Jail

The Margao civil jail was cleaner but the administration was very strict. So the harassment of the revolutionary prisoners continued. They remained handcuffed, were not provided food, not allowed to keep any reading material like books. Soon the trial of the Porvorim Attack began in Mapusa Civil Court, so they were once again taken to the Mapusa Civil Jail.

After the judgment of the Civil court, on 23rd December 1949, which found them guilty of the charges, they were sent to the Fort Aguada Jail for the second time to serve their sentences. Narayan Naik were given the life sentence of 28 years,Dattatray Deshpande 26 years, Jaiwant Kunde 24 years, Prabhakar Sinari 14 years, Mukund Kamat Dhakankar 6 years and Raghuvir Kamat and Madan Kolwalkar were sentenced to six months each.

Fort Aguada Jail

Raghuvir Kamat and Kolwalkar were released after serving their sentence of six months but the trial of Narayan Naik, Deshpande, Sinari , Kane and Dhakankar continued in Military court for conspiring against the Portuguese Government by forming a Azad Gomantak Dal, a rebel outfit.

On 12th June 1950, the military court found them guilty of the charges and by its final judgment Narayan Naik was sentenced to 28 years (life sentence) in exile, out of which 10 years in cellular jail with fine of Rs. 3.50/day for a period of 1 year or additional imprisonment of 1 year, Dattatray Deshpande was sentenced to 26 years (life sentence) in exile, out of which 6 years in cellular jail with fine of Rs. 1.75/day for a period of 1 year or additional imprisonment of 1 year, Jaiwant Kunde was sentenced to 26 years in exile with fine of Rs. 1.00/day for a period of 1 year, Prabhakar Sinari was sentenced to 14 years in exile with a fine of Rs. 3.50/day for a period of 1 year and Mukund Dhakankar was sentenced to 6 years in exile with a fine of Rs. 3.50/day for a period of 2 months.

Military Trial Court

This time, all these four revolutionaries were kept in a cave-like cell near the chapel which was facing towards the sea but was closed from all sides with a small hole for ventilation. Because of lack of proper food and fresh air, some of them often fell so sick that they had to be hospitalised. Prabhakar Sinari who was the youngest among them suffered from night blindness. Their complaints regarding the pathetic condition of the jail fell on deaf ears. They were told that they had to stay in this cell until arrangement for their deportation to Angola, a Portuguese colony in Africa were made.

After hearing about their imminent deportation, Narayan Naik and Prabhakar Sinari planned to escape from the jail. As it was difficult to escape from heavily guarded Aguada jail, Narayan Naik attempted to escape from Goa Medical College ward for prisoners during his hospital admission for food poisoning. He cut the grills of his ward window with Hexablade which he had managed to acquire from a visitor, but was captured by the guards. However, Prabhakar Sinari successfully escaped by jumping from window during his stay in the same ward.

Goa Medical College,1947

After spending about 4 & 1/2 years in various Goan jails from December 1947 to June 1952, including three and a half years in Aguada jail, Narayan Naik, Jaiwant Kunde and Mukund Dhakankar, along with four members of National Congress Goa; i.e., Dr. Vinayak Mayekar, P.P. Shirodkar, Guilhermo Ticlo and Nilkanth Karapurkar, were first taken to Portugal and kept in Aljube jail in Lisbon. After spending a few months there, they were deported to Angola and imprisoned in Fort Rocados jail to serve their remaining sentence. Dattatraya Deshpande being a citizen of India was kept at Aguada for some more time and later taken to Portugal and kept in a mental hospital ward in Lisbon under the pretext of giving him treatment for mental illness.

It was in May 1962, about six months after the liberation of Goa, Narayan Naik and rest of his colleagues, except Ticlo and Dhakankar who settled in Angola, returned to Goa after ten years of deportation, in June 1962 and continued to serve Goa.

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