Tracking Goa's dreaded agent via cyberspace
He was a secret service agent who used to torment freedom fighters when Goa was under Portuguese rule. Now some crucial missing links on 'Agente Monteiro' have surfaced in cyberspace.
In an unusual series of developments over the past couple of months, a posting on Goanet (goanet.org) on the man has led to the unearthing of an interesting, though painful, chapter of history.
Agente Monteiro has long been a dreaded name in Goa because of the legendary brutality with which he is believed to have acted against anyone who challenged the colonial state then under Portuguese rule.
Oddly, the posting in cyberspace got noticed by someone in Britain, who turned out to be the son of Agente Monteiro and was aghast about the manner in which his father - now believed to be dead - had treated the people of Goa in his time.
Just a few weeks ago, Roland Francis, a Canada-based Goan, got the ball rolling accidentally by posting a report about Agente Monteiro, as reflected in the 1955 Maharashtra Gazette records.
Casimiro Emérito Rosa Teles Jordão Monteiro was an agent of the dreaded PIDE (Policia International de Defense do Estada), the colonial Portuguese equivalent of the US CIA or Israel's Mossad.
"I have this (awful sick) feeling in the pit of my stomach regarding this man, Agent Casimero Monteiro. I suspect I have some recollections of this man and his brother because if he is the same man that I think he is, it may well have been my father and uncle," said the Britain-based Goan expat, who stumbled upon the reality decades later.
"Shame on me for this, but I have been looking for him and his whereabouts for some time now," commented his hardly-proud son, now in his late 50s.
Later confirming that he was indeed his son, the expatriate recalled that when he was five years old, in 1955, he "wondered whatever happened to my father after we left Goa suddenly for a holiday break of eight months in 1958 in Lisboa, returning to Goa afterwards but not seeing him much, then after a while, never again."
Reports available now indicate he was both reviled and revered in the Goa of Portuguese years, depending on which side of the colonial divide one was on.
Agente Monteiro was believed to be the actual killer in 1965 of dissident Portuguese politician General Humberto Delgado and his Brazilian secretary, who challenged the Portuguese dictator Salazar.
Prominent Indo-Portuguese historian Teotonio R de Souza, based in Lisbon, cited sources to say Casimiro Monteiro was involved in many other rightwing global battles.
He participated in the Spanish civil war on the side of Franco, fought with the Blue Division of Germany against the then USSR, served as commando of Montgomery against the forces of Rommel, took part in an assault in London, where he killed an employee of the goldsmithery.
Monteiro was also accused as the police officer responsible for homicide, extortion, violations in 'Portuguese India', and even for placing explosives in Goa after Portuguese rule ended.
Following the murder of General Delgado, Agente Monteiro left for Mozambique, where he joined a brigade that placed bombs in Tanzânia and decimated Africans supporting pro-independence FRELIMO.
In 1968, he is believed to have prepared a letter-bomb that killed Eduardo Mondlane, president of FRELIMO. On the eve of the pro-democracy movement on April 25, 1974, in Portugal, he is believed to have moved out with his family from Portugal to South Africa, where he was given refuge till his death.
Of Agente Monteiro, the man claiming to be his son recalls: "My father was Portuguese and not a very nice man to us, not at all nice to our neighbours or to the Goan population as a whole."
Some on Goanet felt raising such issues was unhelpful. "Please do not raise issues of irrelevance. Casimiro Monteiro is dead and gone," wrote Bernardo Colaco, based in Macau.
But his son commented: "Even if he is indeed 'dead and gone' as you put it, it would help us enormously to lay our ghosts to rest. If it is true, then where is he laid, where are his and my paternal relatives living in Goa or Lisbon?"
"Agente Monteiro was a tormentor of Goan nationalists. It was an expected role from someone recruited to harass and create panic among the nationalists," commented Goan journalist Eugene Correia, based in Canada and the Gulf.