Goa’s refugee crisis of ‘72

Idi Amin, a name any Goan who lived in Uganda would despise. Why? For a very simple reason, he was responsible for their forced departure from Uganda. The dreaded year was 1972, Six months into his reign dictator Amin declared that Asians and Europeans in the country had 90 days to vacate the country.

The news shocked the affected people. Most of the Asians and Europeans had settled there when Uganda was a British colony. Hierarchy wise, they were given preference above the locals. Majority of them held British passports they also had the choice of becoming an Indian or a Pakistani citizen. Many of these people had well established businesses and also held important post in the government offices.

After a few months in power, Amin in an attempt to revive the economy, decided to expel the foreign minority and seize their assets to be distributed among the locals later. In fact they were even asked to declare their assets and liabilities and also appoint an overseer for their property, to look after it until the custodian board had distributed the property to a Ugandan citizen.


Goans numbered around 4,000. Many chose to leave and settled in Canada, UK and other European countries. Some did choose to come back to Goa. Many of those who did come back to the state had to start from scratch because most of the assets were seized by the Ugandan government.

The results of expulsion policy were for reaching, it caused the already declining Ugandan economy to slide even faster. Most of the businesses, posts etc were mismanaged by the Ugandan replacement dealing a heavy blow to the economy.

Although it’s been more than four decades since the expulsion, it is still an important and an interesting chapter in the Goan history. It needs to be remembered and recounted or else much like many instances, this chapter would also be lost in history.

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1 thought on “Goa’s refugee crisis of ‘72”

  1. Since you were writing in 2016, you could have added a little bit of what befell Idi Amin and Uganda after this unfortunate spell. Good Work,Shailesh!

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