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

Telangana govt proposes to give unfettered powers to forest officials, 'help' corporates

By Dr Palla Trinadha Rao*
The Telangana Government is contemplating to replace the Telangana Forest Act 1967 with a new law - the Telangana Forest Act (TFA) 2019, trampling the rights of adivasis ensured under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA Act 2006) and Panchayats Extension to Schedule Area (PESA) Act 1996 both of which are central acts.

RSS, Hindu Mahasabha were 'subservient' to British masters: Nagpur varsity VC told

Counterview Desk
Well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam, associate professor (retired), University of Delhi, in an open letter to the vice-chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Dr Siddharthavinayaka P Kane, has taken strong exception to the varsity decision to include RSS’ “role” in nation building in the syllabus of the BA (history) course, citing instances to say that the RSS ever since its birth in 1925 with its Hindutva allies like Hindu Mahasabha led by VD Savarkar worked overtime to “betray the glorious anti-colonial freedom struggle”.

British companies export 'deadly' asbestos to India, other countries from offshore offices

By Rajiv Shah
“The Sunday Times”, which forms part of the powerful British daily, “The Times”, has raised the alarm that though the “deadly” asbestos is banned in Britain, companies registered in United Kingdom, and operating from other countries, “are involved in shipping it to developing nations”, especially India. India, Brazil, Russia and China account for almost 80% of the asbestos consumed globally every year, it adds.

One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."

Lynching as state terror? Complete dearth of 'political will' to deal with mob violence

By Fr Cedric Prakash sj*
On Friday July 5, thousands of people had gathered at a rally in Surat to protest against the growing mob lynching incidents in different parts of the country. There are different interpretations at what happened during the rally: with police blaming the rallyists and those in the rally blaming the police for using teargas shells upon them without any reason.

Beijing-based infrastructure bank 'funding' India's environmentally risky projects

By Our Representative
A new civil society note has questioned the operations of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank that aims to support the building of infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to fund projects in India through the Government of India’s National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), calling it “a risky venture”.

Gender budgeting? Govt of India allocates just 2.1%, 0.73% for SC, ST women

By Rajiv Shah
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), one of the most influential all-India Dalit rights networks, has taken strong exception to the manner in which the Government of India has undermined Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Union Budget 2019-20 for scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs), pointing towards “wide gaps” between the goals and the situational reality of “the Dalit and Adivasi women on the ground.”

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Universal healthcare? India lacks provisions to 'fight' non-communicable diseases

By Moin Qazi*
Universal health coverage (UHC) -- ensuring that all people receive proper and adequate health care without suffering financial hardship -- is an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables countries to make the most of their strongest asset: human capital.

Include all workers exposed to silica dust in anti-TB programme: Govt of India told

Counterview Desk
In a letter, sponsored by well-known civil rights organization, Occupational & Environmental Health Network of India and signed by more than 60 professionals and activists*, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has been told that Indian policy makers shouldn't just acknowledge higher TB risk to mine and stone crusher workers, but also “other silica-exposed workers”.