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 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.
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. 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]".
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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 riversid; 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.
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.
At a public meeting, Karmalkar was chosen as the first administrator of 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 by a body called the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
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.
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.