Skip to main content

Desecrations in Goa carried out in form of a campaign to strike fear, insecurity and mistrust among communities

Counterview Desk
Fact finding team’s brief report on investigation of the desecration of Holy Crosses and graves in South Goa:
A five member team visited the sites of desecration of religious structures and burial places across South Goa on 14th July 2017 to understand the ground reality. The members of the fact finding team were Adv. Irfan Engineer, Director, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) and Neha Dabhade associated with CSSS, Fr. Savio Fernandes, Executive Secretary, Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), Ranjan Solomon and Roselle Solomon, prominent activists working for rights of minorities associated with CSJP.
The team visited the sites of desecration at Curtorim, Chandor, Gudi-Paroda and Curchorem in South Goa. They spoke to the priests of the related Churches, members of the Christian community, people’s elected representatives, politicians and people from across various faiths. Till the time of going to the press the team was unable to meet the police officials due to time constraints although appointments were fixed, however the team will meet the officials prior to the final report.
The observations on ground points to a possibility that the incidents of desecration and vandalism are a part of a pattern which is planned and executed by the same persons or organizations. All the attacks have been executed with heavy steel implements directed at the bases of the structures to cause maximum damage. The team sensed the pain and anguish which was palpable in the shock and fear on the faces of the members of the community.
The general perception of the community pointed to certain statements at a Hindu conclave and during the visit of a National office bearer of the political party in Government as possibly encouraging such incidents.
The desecrations are carried out in a form of a campaign to strike fear, insecurity and mistrust among communities in Goa. Most of the desecrated crosses visited by the team have been targeted more than once in the past more particularly hinged around political developments in the state. The law and order machinery have failed to solve the cases and apprehend the culprits responsible for such crimes thereby emboldening the perpetrators. The helplessness and fear prevalent in the Christian community is giving rise to a feeling of being treated as second class citizens.
The following are the primary findings after the interactions:
  • The atmosphere in Goa is vitiated and communalized to cause polarization through relentless anti minority narrative. Christians and Muslims are especially targets of demonization through false propaganda. Muslims are portrayed as terrorists and loyal to Pakistan while Christians are portrayed as being agents of Portugal and anti-nationals and seeking to convert members of other religious communities through fraud/ inducement. 
  • The fact finding team recommends that strict action in accordance with law be taken against individuals/ organizations indulging in hate campaigns against minorities in Goa and those responsible for desecration and vandalism. To ensure transparency it would be appropriate to order a judicial commission to investigate the desecrations in a time bound manner. The team also urged the civil society organizations to continue their struggle for justice to the citizens of Goa.
Incidentally, it has been reported that one Mr. Francis Pereira has admitted to have single handedly desecrated and vandalized one hundred and forty odd religious symbols since the last five years. The team strongly feels that the arrest appears as a familiar script to similar crimes across the country to pacify the civil society and the affected communities and divert attention from the actual perpetrators. The extensive damage caused as witnessed by the fact finding team could not have been possibly inflicted by a single person, more over who is 50 years old. The fact finding team demands an impartial investigation into the crimes.

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.