After desecration, Goa church body questions police claim

Panaji, May 24 (IANS) In the wake of the desecration of a holy cross in a South Goa village, a Goa Church body on Thursday questioned police claims of solving cases of earlier desecrations reported from the coastal state.

The Council for Social Justice and Peace, a social arm of the Goa Church, also said that these desecrations followed a definite pattern so as to instill fear and provoke negative feelings among “certain communities”.

“Civil society groups prepared a fact-finding report that suggested such desecrations appeared to be the handiwork of a highly organised gang… Now that desecrations have resurfaced, the CSJP demands proper and thorough independent investigation by the state government in all such cases in Goa,” Council’s Executive Secretary Fr. Savio Fernandes said in a statement.

On Wednesday, a cross was found desecrated at Raia village, after which police filed a case against unknown persons.

“The CSJP is deeply perturbed by another desecration of Christian religious symbol. The usual bias and knee-jerk reaction of the police in jumping to a conclusion and arrest of some migrant labourers living in vicinity offers no consolation to the Christian community,” he added.

Last year, Goa Police claimed to have cracked a series of desecrations with the arrest of taxi driver Francis Pereira, who was accused of defiling over 60 crosses and two Hindu idols across Goa. Pereira is out on bail.

A fact-finding team, including Council members, had claimed that Pereira’s arrest was a “mere eyewash”.

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