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Monday, July 24, 2006

Leave language Act alone: Catholic activists

A day after pro-Roman script activists put up the demand of equal status for Konkani in Roman script, the “Goan Catholics for Devnagiri” and Konkani Ekvott called on the AICC observer Margaret Alva on Saturday and asked the Congress not to touch or alter the Official Language Act.

The Goan Catholics for Devnagiri delegation was led by its convenor Fr Jaime Couto, teacher of Konkani at Saligao Seminary, Fr Mousinho de Ataide, Professor of Canon Law at Rachol Seminary and Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, Fr Moreno De Souza, Editor of Rotti, Fr Lino Florindo, Professor and Dean of Theology, Pilar Seminary, Serafino Cota, convenor of Konkani Ekvott, Social worker Xavierito da Costa and Romeo Teles, member Goa Hitrakhan Manch.
Fr Ataide told Herald that the AICC observer gave a patient hearing to the delegation and gave clear indications that the Official Language Act would be left untouched.
In their memorandum to Alva, the Goan Catholics for Devnagiri said only Konkani in Devnagiri can bring the Catholics and Hindus together in Goa and help the Goan Catholics in their emotional integration into the main national stream. “Goan Catholics are still under the spell of the Portuguese and hesitant to be part and parcel of the culture of the great country,” the memo said.
Outlining various reasons for Konkani in Devnagiri script and how Goan society was divided into two major water-tight compartments till Liberation, with Hindus opting for Marathi and Catholics remaining with Konkani, the GCD said that Konkani was being taught in schools, colleges and in the University in Devnagiri script since long and it was but natural to adopt Konkani in Devnagiri as the official language of Goa.
Konkani Ekvott admitted that the Catholic society in Goa has a tradition of writing Konkani in Roman script and that the use of Roman script should continue without any impediment or hindrance as long as its users want. However, it felt that it is neither necessary nor proper to amend the Official Language Act, 1987 to specify two scripts for Konkani, saying it is neither in the interest of Konkani nor in the interest of the Goan community in general and the Catholic community in particular.
Demanding that the Official Language Act, 1987 be not amended in any manner, either for Marathi or for Roman script, Konkani Ekvott convenor Serafino Cota, however, said the government should ensure that all those using Roman script are given all facilities, opportunities, advantages and encouragement.

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