Following flak from the opposition and tourism industry stakeholders for creating a sense of alarm over the imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC earlier this week, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday said that there was no terror threat to Goa.
Sawant also promised to review the existing administrative procedure for the imposition of prohibitory orders, while urging tourists to travel to Goa for the upcoming Carnival without worry.
“Such circulars are issued regularly. There is no question of a terror attack or any cause for fear. The imposition of Section 144 CrPC is nominal. I will still see if it can be reviewed. It is just an administrative procedure. Tourists and foreigners coming to Goa for the Carnival or tourism in general should travel without worry,” Sawant told reporters here.
The Carnival, one of the most popular festivals in Goa, begins on February 22.
Earlier in the day, the North Goa district administration issued a statement clarifying that promulgation of the order was “routine” and there was no nood for panic.
“General public are advised not to panic as these orders have been issued routinely as part of general preparedness in the past too for the entire state by both the District Magistrates (Goa has two administrative districts),” North Goa DM R. Menaka said in a clarification on Saturday.
“The order does not prevent the assembly of more than four persons or such conditions as is being quoted. There will be no impact on tourists, Carnival, Shigmo and other celebrations,” she said.
Carnival and Shigmo are two major traditional Catholic and Hindu festivals, respectively.
After Section 144 was imposed earlier this week for a period of 60 days, the opposition had accused the Goa government of creating a “Kashmir-like” situation in the coastal state by the prolonged imposition of Section 144.
The order issued earlier this week by the North Goa district administration had said that the prohibitory provisions had been invoked due to “possible terror threats” along the Western Coast and in order to prevent the possibility of “anti-social elements” committing crimes in the state.
Tourism industry stakeholders had also criticised the imposition of prohibitory orders, saying the development had triggered panic amongst tourists inbound to Goa. Goa’s conventional tourism season stretches from October to March.
Menaka in her clarification on Saturday also said that the prohibitory orders were issued only as a precautionary measure, ahead of a tenant verification drive due to be conducted by the North Goa district administration.
“It is clarified that the order is a precautionary measure only to step up the alertness, essentially to impose tenant verification on all owners of the houses, buildings, flats and other residential accommodation, private guest houses, paying guest accommodation etc., so that the antecedents of all the persons are verified before letting out their premises on lease, rent or on hire basis to such persons,” the clarification said.