Goan rockstar, back in the sunny state, invites wrath of activists with his social media posts; kicks up Indian-Portuguese citizenship storm
Goa: Goan musician Remo Fernandes is no stranger to controversy. But the latest one is big even by his standards. What started off as a cut and dried accident case — when a car driven by Remo’s son Johan knocked down a girl by the roadside on December 1 — has now snowballed into a major conflagration, involving two of the most prominent social activists in Goa - Aires Rodrigues and Kashinath Shetye. They seem to have locked horns with Remo, who flew off to Portugal last month after the accident.
Remo Fernandes at a music event in Mumbai in 2013. File Pic
The next hearing for Remo’s anticipatory bail plea has been scheduled for Tuesday. Till then, it is unlikely that he will be arrested as his lawyers in the anticipatory bail application have said that he is ready to co-operate with the police.
Goa’s most prominent activist-lawyer Aires Rodrigues filed the FIR in the accident case. Just how effective is Aires? It was he who sent Goan minister Francisco ‘Mickey’ Pacheco to jail for six months, recently, for slapping an electricity department engineer a few years ago.
Remo has already accused Aires of trying to extort money. An accusation which Aires is very unlikely to take lying down, especially after Remo and his friends launched a vicious attack against him on Facebook.
Citizenship of contention
According to reports, Remo returned to Goa on Thursday, after spending time in Portugal. While there, he posted photos and comments on Facebook. “Looking forward to my first Christmas in my new country! There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about opting for another nationality,” he mentioned in one of his posts.
Soon after these posts, another prominent Goan social activist Kashinath Shetye, lodged complaints at three police stations against Remo for allegedly suppressing information that he was a foreigner, and being an ambassador for the Goa election commission (during the 2012 Assembly Elections) while being a Portuguese citizen.
Goa has been buzzing ever since the Remo rumpus began, it has also brought to the surface, a simmering debate about Portuguese citizenship. Simply registering one's birth in Portugal and obtaining a Portuguese passport does not make a Goan a Portuguese citizen; for that you need to obtain a ‘Bilhete de Identitie’.
With Remo putting up belligerent posts on Facebook, activist-lawyer Aires, too, has vowed to fight back and took to Facebook to convey his intentions: “Am looking forward to that defamation case Remo Fernandes has threatened to file against me, while I vow to take on the rock star by the horn.”
The battle lines are drawn.
This may be the first time that anyone outside Goa hears about this so-called activist Aires Rodrigues, but within Goa, he is a household name known to chase false cases with a design to extort. What else does one say about this man who even withdrew allegations against those who assaulted him with swords, leaving him with two cut fingers in retaliation for apparent monetary consideration?
The complaint filed by Mr Aires Rodrigues is in connivance with the family of the injured and two or three individuals each from Goa and Sindhudurg, who will be exposed soon. Their aim is to extort money from me, but I will not succumb to such demands, and have full faith in the Court to deliver justice to me. I am not just hopeful, I am confident that the truth will emerge soon. It usually does.