Youth Congress workers stage ‘Mashal Morcha’ to protest against casinos; Goa Police lathi-charge protestors

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A “Mashal Morcha” staged by Youth Congress to protest against an ongoing poker tournament that is underway at an offshore casino in the coastal state took a nasty turn when police unleashed lathis on the protestors.

Protestors griped that it is unfair for the government to allow global poker tournaments to take place when religious functions were called off in the name of covid restrictions. They also threatened to enter the tournament and disrupt the event if their demands are not heeded.

President Varad Mardolkar Mardolkar claimed that hordes of gamblers at the casinos in Goa were responsible for the second Covid wave in the state which claimed several lives. The Youth Congress had written to Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan demanding the cancellation of the poker tournament on Monday.

Congress complained that no precautions are being taken by off-shore casinos. “It appears as if the casinos have given the contract to Goa Police to protect them. Police have hit women. Nobody has any right today to protest in Goa because Goa Police has been asked to beat up everyone,” said Youth Congress president Varad Mardolkar to TOI.

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Mardolkar along with Amarnath Panjikar, Sankalp Amonkar, Janardhan Bhandari, Curtorim MLA Alexio Reginaldo Lourenco, Naushad Chaudhari, and many others was the frontrunner of the protest.

“Congress demands that the DGP should tell who ordered the lathi charge? Why were peaceful protesters attacked? Why are police acting like BJP’s personal force? Why were even lady protesters chased and lathi-charged?,” said state Congress president Girish Chodankar to TOI.

While the accusation of lathi-charge has been flatly denied by the senior police officers, congress workers have said that the police force swung lathis on protestors including women and youth.

“We need to condemn the behavior of this government and of Goa Police. The government has said that the casinos can operate at 50% capacity but there is no check on this, nobody is checking their vaccination status or if they are wearing masks. This will lead to the third wave,” said Congress vice-president Sankalp Amonkar.