Goa minister refuses to apologise for comments against Lamanis

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Goa minister refuses to apologise for comments against Lamanis

Panaji, April 7 (IANS) Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Friday refused to apologise for his controversial comments, calling for throwing Lamanis – nomadic people – out of the coastal state, even as members of the community demanded an apology from him.

Ajgaonkar told IANS that he said nothing objectionable against Lamanis.

“I only called them Lamanis because the whole of Goa calls them that… There is no question of an apology. I too belong to a lower caste,” Ajgaonkar said.

On April 3, Ajgaonkar ordered a crackdown on illegal hawking on Goa’s beaches, especially by Lamanis.

“Outsiders who can uphold Goenkarponn (Goanness) should be allowed to stay, the rest should be chased away. Goa’s culture and Goenkarponn should be retained… These Lamanis should be stopped (from coming to Goa). A wrong message is sent because of them,” Ajgaonkar had said.

Lamanis, known for their colourful costumes, were involved in the seasonal tourism trade selling trinkets and handmade clothes along the coastline to the hundreds of thousands of tourists who frequent the coastal state.

Thousands of Lamanis are also settled in the state, many of them for more than one generation and their association, the All Goa Banjara Samaj, has now petitioned Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Ajgaonkar himself, demanding an apology for the latter’s remarks.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.