Goa minister Vijai Sardesai today hit out at Sadhvi Saraswati, who stoked a row with her remark on beef consumption, saying people like her come to the state as "tourists," who are unaware of the Goan ethos. The state agriculture minister said strong action will be taken against those who try to create communal disharmony in the state with their talks. "Goa has 60 lakh tourists coming every year, including these kind of Saraswatis. They don't know what is 'goenkarpoon' (Goanness).
They make controversial statements basically to gain some cheap publicity," Sardesai told a press conference here. Sadhvi Saraswati, president of Sanatan Dharma Prachar Seva Samiti of Chhindwada in Madhya Pradesh, while attending the All India Hindu Convention at Ramnathi here on Wednesday said that those who eat beef should be hanged in public. Sadhvi's remarks triggered a sharp reaction from the Congress, which said her speech would spark communal hatred. The Goa Forward Party chief said Sadhvi Saraswati is welcome to visit Goa as a tourist, but she cannot make such irresponsible statements. "If they (people like Saraswati) continue talking like this we can't shut their mouth, but if communal disharmony is created due to their comments, the government will come down heavily on them," he said. "I am speaking not just as the chief of the Goa Forward Party but as a minister of the state government. The backbone of this government is communal harmony and we will protect it," he said. Sardesai said people in general are not bothered about such remarks made by the likes of Sadhvi Saraswati. "The Indian Constitution does not forbid you to become a gau rakshak, but when you come to Goa you should know that for every gau rakshak is a Goa rakshak (protector of Goa)," he said.