Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said that his state would always be indebted to martyr Karnail Singh Benipal, resident of Haryana, who laid down his life for the state’s struggle for freedom from Portuguese rule.
Addressing a press conference after paying tribute to Benipal by visiting his village Barola where he also met the martyr’s wife Charanjit Kaur, Sawant announced that a road leading from Goa International Airport would be named after Shaheed Karnail Singh Benipal.
“Goa is also celebrating 60 years of its independence. As a part of these celebrations, I have specially visited Barola village in Ambala to meet Charanjit Kaur, wife of martyr Karnail Singh Benipal and presented a cheque of Rs 10 lakh and a citation to her as a gesture of honour,” said Sawant.
He said in the memory of the known and unknown martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the independence of Goa, a memorial is being built in their memory at Patradevi. A statue of Shaheed Karnail Singh Benipal has also been made in the government school of Patradevi.
While celebrating the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and 60 years of Goa’s liberation, the state government had announced to give special honour to martyr Karnail Singh Benipal. A special invitation was sent to his wife Kaur by the Goa government to attend the ceremony but due to her ill health, she could not attend the same.
The Goa CM had promised her brother and sister-in-law who had attended the programme on behalf of Kaur that he would specially visit Ambala to meet and honour Charanjit Kaur.
Karnail Singh Benipal wanted to see Goa free from Portuguese rule after India got independence. Meanwhile, Goa Vimochan Sahayak Samiti, a Pune-based organization working for the liberation of Goa, decided to go on a mass Satyagraha by crossing the border of Goa on August 15, 1955.
They also sought the help from political parties. Accordingly, the satyagrahis were divided into groups. One group tried to enter Goa through Patradevi border, while the other planned to enter South Goa via Pollem border and Castlerock border.
A young widow from Madhya Pradesh Sahodradevi Rai was holding the Indian tricolour and leading the group of Satyagrahis along with others at Patradevi. As their group tried to enter Goa, she was shot and badly injured.
At this juncture, 25-year-old Karnail Singh Benipal of Isru village in Punjab came forward and challenged the police to shoot him instead of attacking women. He too was shot on the border of Goa at Patradevi and embraced martyrdom.