Describe the story of Goa's liberation from the Portuguese to its becoming a state of the Indian Union.
After the disintegration of the British Empire in India in 1947, Portugal refused to withdraw from the territories of Goa, Diu and Daman, which were under their colonial rule since the sixteenth century. During their rule, the Portuguese suppressed the people of Goa, denied them civil rights and carried out forced religious conversions. After India's Independence, the Indian government tried patiently to persuade the Portuguese government to withdraw. There was also a strong popular movement within Goa for freedom. They were strengthened by socialist satyagrahis from Maharashtra. Finally, in December 1961, these territories were liberated by the army sent by the Government of India. Goa, Diu and Daman became union territories. Thereafter, another complication arose which was led by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). They desired that Goa as a Marathi-speaking area should merge with Maharashtra. However, many Goans were keen to retain their separate Goan identity and culture, particularly the Konkani language. They were led by the United Goan Party (UGP). In January 1967, the central government held a special 'opinion poll' in Goa asking people to decide if they wanted to be part of Maharashtra or remain separate. This was the only time in independent India that a referendumlike procedure was used to ascertain the people's wishes on a subject. The majority voted in favour of remaining outside of Maharashtra. Thus, Goa continued as a union territory. Finally, in 1987, Goa became a state of the Indian Union.