Kuwait, Jul 15: Since a fortnight back when Rosary Ferns released his 12th Konkani Album “RAAG”, based on a true story of a Goan who was hanged in Kuwait some years back, lot of people are showing interest in what actually has happened and why he was hanged..
Approximately about 6 months before the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on 2nd August 1990, Francis Araujo was hanged in Kuwait. He was from Santa Cruz (Calafura), approximately 2 years before the invasion of Kuwait, Francis Araujo was travelling in a bus from Kuwait Public Transport Company, Route No. 18, which was driven by a Turkish driver while the conductor from Egypt. When Francis Araujo entered the bus, he gave one Dinar Note to the conductor for the ticket fare since Francis had no change with him. After handing over the ticket, the conductor gave back the balance money in small coins to Francis. While receiving this change Francis asked the conductor thus, “why are you giving me this type of change in small coins?”. Conductor got annoyed at Francis for this question and asked him “either take it or get lost”. In the ensuing argument both the persons lost their temper and in the fight the driver also joined in support of his colleague and both assaulted Francis and threw him out of the bus.
Francis’ pride was hurt. Then and there Francis decided to teach a very good lesson to his sudden foes and immediately went home, got a nice sharp knife and waited for the bus to return at the same spot where he was thrown out.
After a long wait, there was no sign of that bus returning and Francis decided to go home as his temper started cooling down. While he was taking a step back to return home, he suddenly saw that same bus coming and again raised his temper and said to himself, “now I will show them”. Yes, the driver stopped the bus at that same bus stop and the moment the bus door was opened, Francis jumped on the conducter and stabbed him. Then the driver came to the rescue of his colleague but Francis without any fear stabbed the driver too and both died. Meantime passengers in the bus started screaming and running for their lives but Francis did not interfere with any of the passengers. After stabbing them, Francis took bold step that without uttering a single word he remained seated on one of the seats in surrender to whoever wants to arrest him. Meantime news went to the police and they came and arrested him, handcuffed him and took him to their custody. Without any resistance Francis surrendered to the Police.
Since Francis mother, sister, brother Daniel and Daniel’s wife were all working as domestics in Kuwaiti houses, they came to know of this tragic news only after a week when Francias sister-in-law first got this news and immediately passed it on to her husband Daniel. When Daniel received this news over telephone, in his own words Daniel told me that it looked to him at that moment that a powerful stone was hit on his head and for a few seconds he remained breathless and speechless. Then Francis’ poor mother and sister got this news and they were all in shock. When Daniel’s Kuwaiti Madame got this news, she immediately sacked Daniel from his domestic job and on the same night deported Daniel back to Goa. When Madam’s son got this news of Daniel’s sacking by his mother he was annoyed at this wrong decision saying that if Daniel’s brother has committed the crimes then Daniel is not to be blamed and sacking him was a wrong decision. But his mother according to Daniel was firm and hence Daniel was deported but within a short period Daniel was brought back by his Madam’s son in the company where he was working as top man.
After returning back to Kuwait Daniel while working borrowed some money from here and there and hired a lawyer to fight the case in favour of his brother but finally justice prevailed and Francis was sentenced to die by hanging. Then Daniel approached Indian Embassy to make a mercy petition but according to him Embassy told him to come thru your Goan organization.
We Goans did not have any apex body to fight for our cause, that time only one known Goan association was existing named Kuwait Goan Association which was involved mainly in organizing ballroom dances thrice a year and it was not a representative of Goans in Kuwait. We did not have at that time an apex body like Malyalees’s UMO (United Malyali Organisation). In such a situation, Daniel finally approached Kuwait Catholic Church to make a mercy petiton and Kuwait Bishop was very symphatetic to Daniel’s plea. Bishop and other priest were very co-operative to Daniel, when Bishop was going to the prison to see Francis, he was even taking along Francis brother and mother. The Kuwaiti employers of Francis mother, sister and sister-in-law were co-operative and they provided them all the help whenever required to go to see Francis in prison. Finally, nothing worked, all pleas failed and Francis was hanged about six months before the invasion of Kuwait and thus he became the first Goan in Kuwait to face gallows. Fr. Pinto a Mangalorean parish priest was present during the hanging as he was allowed to hear the last confession of Francis and perform the last sacrament on Francis body.
Fr. Pinto was the last person Francis saw and spoke and in fact when Fr. Pinto came to see Francis a few minutes before the hanging, Francis said “hello father, you are come?” According to Fr. Pinto, contrary to normal happenings, Francis did not show any resistance to the security personnel and hangman who were leading him to the gallows. He fully co-operated with the security system and showed perfect coolness and courage which according to Fr. Pinto came only thru spiritual aspects and devine powers. Everyone was praying very hard for Francis so that God gives him courage to face this gallows, Francis was also praying very hard in the prison, our Bishop and other priest were praying very hard too so that Francis will overcome fear and face the gallows boldly. Finally Francis was hanged and he was declared as dead within 3 minutes which is a normal time for a normal person.
Finally the date and timing of the funeral was fixed, the body was packed in a coffin and not allowed to open in the Church nor in the Cemetry. The Church was packed to capacity, there was total unity amongst Goans on that day in the Church as well as in the Cemetry. Since I was one of the responsible persons for arranging the funeral actitivities, when I asked any favour from any unknown Goan he immediately obliged. All who had cars and other conveyances with them volunteered to carry the people to the Cemetry which is quite far from the Church. I was helped by many to carry the coffin from the ambulance to the Church. Local Pressmen came fully prepared and the next day Arab Times, the local daily brought in its front page as headline, photographic review of the funeral, my photo appeared at the very strategic place holding Francis Sister who was screaming and trying to rush to the coffin to open it in defiance of the instruction but I was holding her very tightly with the help of others too because inspite of my top physical fitness that time since I was still a top foot-baller in Kuwait amongst the Indians, I was totally subdued by the sudden mighty physical power of Francis sister. She was not only trying to overpower me but she was also screaming loudly saying “mojea mogachea bhava re! Utt re atam kaxintlo and bhair sor re ani fodd re soglo segred! Mojea bhava rei, tum sangtaloi mu re morchea adim apun soglo segred foddtolom mhonn, tor fodd re tam soglo segred mojea bhava!. Unfortunately the “segred” that was to be opened remained segred only as Francis carried it in his grave. While she was under my control other members of Francis family like mother, brother and sister-in-law were also crying loudly and while they were crying many others who came for the funeral were also sobbing and crying. Fr. Domnick peeping through the window from the Bishop palace next to the Church was shivering and trembling without uttering a word.
When the body reached the Cemetry everyone helped me to lower the coffin into the grave, one Luis from Bastora and me both on opposite sides like grave diggers lowered the coffin into the grave and of course we were assisted by others too. Then everyone present there completed the burial. During that time tiatrist Pascoal Rodrigues and his troupe were in Kuwait to show their plays. Some of the artistes participating in those shows were from Santa Cruz (Calafura), they also were sudden attendees for the funeral of their “odruxtti ghanv – bhav”. After the funeral Daniel the brother of Francis Araujo was crying and screaming very bitterly in the Cemetry and only because of few of us he could control himself. That moment Daniel felt more than at any other time for his brother. One sentence of Daniel I will never forget when he said by putting his head on my shoulder was, “Veronica mojea bhava, mozo bhau melear porva nasli re, ami soglech mortole pun he porim unneponnachem moronn mojea bhavak favo zaunk naka aslem”. For this I answered hugging Daniel tightly, “voi Daniel, takach nhoi pun konnakuch oslem unneponnachem moron Devan favo korchem nhoi”.
This all happened because of the “RAAG” (anger) which we must try to control and to have this control over anger we must pray and pray. May God forgive Francis Araujo and along with his victims May God give him eternal peace.
Author: A. Veronica Fernandes- Kuwait