After the recent statement of the Goa Tourism Minister Babu Azgaonkar went viral into the media about cleaning the Goan beaches of Lamanis the Banjara Samaj (Lamanis) have demanded an apology from the minister otherwise they have threatened to protest.
Every action has an equal reaction that rules fit here perfect. The Lamani community took the serious cognisance of the statement made by the Goa’s Tourism Minister Babu Azgaonkar and demanded an apology from him or else threatened to protest. According to the sources, the All Goa Banjara Samaj has demanded an apology from tourism minister Babu Azgaonkar for stating that he would drive away Lamanis and touts from Goa.
While speaking to the media, General Secretary Ganesh Lamani quoted that the Banjara Samaj has condemned the statements made by the nomadic tribe which is listed in the scheduled cast in the federal list of the Union government of India and submitted a memorandum to the minister requesting him to take back his statement, which if not done in due time, the community has threatened to shut down their businesses for a day and hold a peaceful protest.
The Lamani Samaj is very big in the state and also they run various businesses which serve the tourists coming to Goa in case if they go for one day strike as stated there will be a big impact on the overall business related to the tourism industry of Goa, said the sources. The Lamani samaj has condemned the direct remarks made by the minister against them in the media. Accordion to General Secretary Mr. Lamani, they are not the part of illegal activities that goes on in the state. “We don’t have a problem with authorities taking action against beggars, hawkers, illegal vendors and drug paddlers along the beach belt but why is our community being singled out,” Lamani said, adding that the entire community is disturbed by the ‘unconstitutional’ statement.
According to the sources, the Lamani community is not very strong in Goa with almost 10% of the local population. The sources have revealed that the Lamani community has a strength of around 2 Lakh in the state which includes the floating population where more than one lakh have settled over the past four decades.
In their memorandum submitted to the Tourism Minister the Samaj has challenged the minister to spell out a single case of drug peddling where people from the Banjara (Lamani) community are involved. The community head said that their community is not a new entrant into the tourism industry of Goa. According to them, the Lamani community has migrated to Goa from the neighboring state of Karnataka and they also have the share in the basic infrastructure development into the state tourism industry while it was just progressing.
The migrant’s community had also assisted in the traditional fishing business and today they have sizeable presence amongst the lifeguards. They also have a major share in the businesses like water sports, beach cleaning, clothes shops on the beach belts, said the sources. With such kind of presence of Lamanis in Goa, it may be a hard time for the tourism stakeholders in Goa to do the business in their absence. Lamanis are not just the migrants today but many of them have also valid ration cards and voter IDs.
It may be recalled that on April 5th Tourism Minister of Goa Babu Azgaonkar had stated that, Lamanis, members of a nomadic tribe mostly hailing from Karnataka, should be banned from Goa because they besmirch the reputation of Goa and don’t fit in the coastal state’s culture. “The Lamanis are creating a nuisance for the tourists especially they harass the foreigners is creating the bad name for the tourism industry of Goa,” said Mr. Azgaonkar adding that “Many of them are also involved in the drug trade and to take care of that we have the team in place. But in case the officials do not take strict action this menace I will make sure the suspension of such officer connected to that particular area.”(source) The Lamani community had taken the serious cognisance of the same and demanded an apology from the minister.