Annexation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli

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Annexation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Date22 July – 11 August 1954
Result Indian victory
India India Portugal Portugal
Commanders and leaders
India J.D. Nagarwala, DIG of Maharashtra Police
India Francis Mascarenhas, leader of UFG
India Com. L.B. Dhangar, CPI
India Raja Wakankar, leader of RSS
India Prabhakar Sinari, leader of AGD
Portugal Virgílio Fidalgo, Administrator of Nagar Haveli
Volunteer fighters of UFG, NMLO, Goa People's Party, Communist Party of India (CPI), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)[1] and AGD
Indian Police forces
320 Portuguese India Police constables, customs guards and rural guards
Casualties and losses
Unknown 2 killed

The Annexation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli was the conflict in which the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli passed from Portuguese rule to Indian Union rule in 1954.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli were small Portuguese overseas territories, part of Portuguese India from 1779 until 1954. The territories were enclaves, without any access to the sea, administered by the Portuguese Governor of the Daman district.

After India attained independence in 1947, some residents, with the help of volunteers of organisations such as the United Front of Goans (UFG), the National Movement Liberation Organisation (NMLO), the Goa People's Party (affiliated to Communist ideology), the undivided Communist Party of India, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Azad Gomantak Dal occupied Dadra and Nagar Haveli in 1954 and displaced Portuguese rule. The territories were subsequently merged into the Indian Union in 1961.


Map of Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the 1950s.

After Indian independence in 1947, pro-India activists in the Portuguese Indian provinces, as well as Indians from other places, proposed of removing Portuguese control of Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and integrating them with India.[2] This was in line with the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi, who had, before India's independence, affirmed that "Goa cannot be allowed to exist as a separate entity in opposition to the laws of the free State [of India]".[3]

Appasaheb Karmalkar, a bank employee with the Goa government took the reins of the National Liberation Movement Organization (NLMO) for the liberation of the Portuguese-ruled Indian territories. Simultaneously the AGD (led by Vishwanath Lavande, Dattatreya Deshpande, Prabhakar Sinari and Gole) and volunteers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (led by Raja Wakankar and Nana Kajrekar) had been planning an armed assault for freeing Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Wakankar and Kajrekar visited the area around Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman several times in 1953 to study the topography and to get acquainted with the local workers and leaders who were agitating for the liberation of the Portuguese territory.

Separately, the Goa People's Party and the then-undivided Communist Party of India had also been mobilising among Warli Adivasi in neighbouring districts since the mid-40's. Com. L.B. Dhangar, Roopji Kadu and 'Godutai' Godavari Parulekar led the Warli communists during the Dadra Nagar Haveli liberation struggle against Portuguese colonialism, around the slogan of 'Land to the tiller!'[4]

In April 1954 the NLMO, AGD and RSS agreed to form a United Front for liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. At a meeting in Elphinstone garden, an armed assault was planned. Independently, another organisation, United Front of Goans (UFG), also pursued similar plans.[2]

J.D. Nagarwala, DIG of the Special Reserve Police, which had been deployed along the territory, had been sympathetic with the nationalists. He had himself visited the area often and advised the nationalists on the next moves.[2]

Liberation of Dadra[edit]

The UFG, led by Francis Mascarenhas, Viman Sardesai and others, attacked the police station in Dadra on the night of 22 July 1954, assassinating Aniceto Rosário, sub-inspector at Dadra Police Station.[5] The next morning, the Indian flag was hoisted and Dadra was declared a free territory. A panchayat led by Jayanti Bhai Desai was formed for the administration of Dadra.[2]

Liberation of Naroli[edit]

On 28 July some 20 to 25 RSS volunteers led by Wakankar and 8 to 10 AGD volunteers led by Sinari crossed the Darotha river and reached Naroli. The Portuguese police officers in Naroli police station were asked to surrender. The Chief and his constable surrendered. Thus on 28 July 1954 Naroli was liberated from Portuguese rule. On 29 July the Gram Panchayat of Free Naroli was established.[2]

Liberation of Lohari[edit]

On 30 July, close to two lakh Communist protestors rallied to the Indian side of the Dadra Nagar Haveli borders. The police was unable to restrain them and a detachment went into Lohari village to liberate it from the Portuguese. 35 other villages in the Damanganga area were liberated by the Adivasi people on that day.[6]

While the Indian troops were supportive of the liberation struggle, the Morarji Desai-led Congress government was wary of allowing Communists to lead the struggle. The undivided CPI was the biggest national opposition party at the time and the union government was anxious to contain its sphere of influence. Top leaders, including Com. Roopji Kadu, were arrested from Silvassa and the Special Reserve Police deployed at the borders would not allow Communist detachments to enter. Instead, it was the RSS,(On February 4, 1948, the government banned the RSS  The ban was lifted unconditionally.statement to the Bombay Legislative Assembly on September 14, 1949 (Proceedings p2126) the Home Minister Morarji Desai admitted that the ban on RSS was no longer considered necessary; it was lifted unconditionally;) a banned organizations (it was not banned)at the time due to its role in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, that was transported by Indian Police forces to the vacated capital of Silvassa.[7]

Liberation of Silvassa[edit]

After Naroli had been captured, the Portuguese police, under the leadership of Nagar Haveli Administrator, Captain Virgílio Fidalgo, was concentrated at Silvassa. The nationalists led by volunteers of the RSS and the AGD took the opportunity and captured Piparia.[2]

Captain Fidalgo was asked by the nationalists (led by Karmalkar) to surrender, but as there was no response from the Administrator the nationalists decided to march towards Silvassa. Two units were led by RSS and the third was led by AGD. All three units moved from three different directions to Silvassa. Fidalgo with 150 Police personnel fled to Khanvel, hence the nationalists were offered no resistance as they entered Silvassa on 2 August and declared the territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli liberated. The RSS's Kajrekar was placed in charge of the unit, while the AGD's Lavande was put in charge of treasury.[2]

Surrender of Captain Fidalgo[edit]

Rumours were circulating that Portuguese reinforcements were coming to Nagar Haveli from Goa via Daman, so Kajrekar immediately contacted Nagarwala and requested a wireless set to enable the nationalists to keep in contact with the Indian SRP Headquarters. The wireless set obtained from the Indian SRP was installed in one of the houses by the riverside; Bandu Karkhanis, an RSS volunteer, who knew how to operate the wireless set was put in charge. He was under instructions that in case of emergency, he should throw the set in the river, cross the river and take shelter in the Indian territory which was just nearby and protected by Indian SRP.[2]

Captain Fidalgo who was moving deep in Nagar Haveli with his 150 men were constantly followed by the volunteers. While the Portuguese set up rearguard defences on the river bank, the Indian volunteer forces crossed the flooded river with local ferries on 10 August, assaulting the Portuguese forces at Khandvel and forcing them to retreat. The Portuguese unit eventually surrendered to the SRP at Udva on 11 August 1954.[2]

At a public meeting, Karmalkar was chosen as the first administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.[2]

Integration into India[edit]

Free Dadra (1954)
Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1954–61)

मुक्त दादरा आणि नगर हवेली
મુક્ત દાદરા અને નગર હવેલી
StatusDe facto independent state claimed by Portugal
CapitalDadra (1954)
Silvassa (1954-1961)
20°16′N 73°01′E / 20.27°N 73.02°E / 20.27; 73.02Coordinates: 20°16′N 73°01′E / 20.27°N 73.02°E / 20.27; 73.02
Common languagesEnglish, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi
• 1954
R. V. Mudras
• 1954
Vishwanath Lawande
• 1954-1955
Appasaheb Karmalkar
• 1955-1960
Antonio Furtado
• 1960-1961
K. G. Badlani
Prime Minister 
• 1961
K. G. Badlani
LegislatureVarishta Panchayat
Historical eraCold War
• Liberation of Dadra
22 July 1954
• Liberation of Nagar Haveli
2 August 1954
• Integration into India
11 August 1961
1961487 km2 (188 sq mi)
• 1961
CurrencyPortuguese Indian rupia, later Indian rupee
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Portuguese India
Dadra and Nagar Haveli

The integration of Dadra and Nagar Haveli into India was not recognised by any other countries before 1974. In the decision of 12 April 1960 in the "Case Concerning Right of Passage Over Indian Territory", the International Court of Justice clearly stated that Portugal had sovereign rights over the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli but India had the right to deny passage to armed personnel of Portugal over Indian territories. The residents of the former colony requested the Government of India for administrative help. K.G. Badlani, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was sent as the administrator.

From 1954 to 1961, the territory was administered as Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli by a body called the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli.[9][10]

During the years the territories enjoyed de facto independence, mail from Dadra and Nagar Haveli was routed through the Indian town of Vapi close to the border. Initially, remaining stocks of stamps of Portuguese India were overprinted LIBERATED AREAS in two lines. A single revenue stamp was also issued by Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

In 1961 when Indian forces took over Goa, Daman, and Diu, Badlani was, for one day, designated the Prime Minister of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, so that, as Head of Government, he could sign an agreement with the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and formally merge Dadra and Nagar Haveli with the Republic of India. This was done by the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of India.

The territory was only recognised as part of the Indian Union, together with all the other former Portuguese possessions, after the recognition of that fact by Portugal, after the Carnation Revolution of 1974. A treaty was signed on 31 December 1974 between India and Portugal on recognition of India's sovereignty over Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.[11]

Until 2006, Portugal continued to grant Portuguese citizenship to all natives of Dadra and Nagar Haveli who wished to have it. In that year, this was amended to include only those who had been born before 19 December 1961.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Hindu Nationalism in India: Ideological corollaries. Deep & Deep Publications. p. 130. The RSS people also participated in 1954 in the liberation struggle of Dadra and Nagar Haveli enclave from Portugal
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j P S Lele, Dadra and Nagar Haveli: past and present, Published by Usha P. Lele, 1987,
  3. ^ M.K. Gandhi, H, 30-6-1946, p. 208
  4. ^ Communist histories. Prashad, Vijay,. New Delhi, India. ISBN 978-93-80118-33-8. OCLC 954115551.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ "How 18th June road got its name". News Blog. Navbharat Times. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  6. ^ Communist histories. Prashad, Vijay,. New Delhi, India. ISBN 978-93-80118-33-8. OCLC 954115551.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ Desai, Anita (2003). "Voices in the Liberation Struggle: The case of Goa, 1947-61" (PDF). University of Goa – via Shodhganga.
  8. ^ Cahoon, Ben. "States of India since 1947". Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  9. ^ Constitution of India, 10th Amendment
  10. ^ Umaji Keshao Meshram & Ors v. Radhikabhai w/o Anandrao Banapurkar AIR 1986 SC 1272[permanent dead link]: this judgment mentions the Administration of Dadra and Nagar Haveli in this period
  11. ^ Treaty Between the Government of India and the Government of the Republic of Portugal on Recognition of Portugal of India's Sovereignty Over Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli and Related Matters 1974

External links[edit]