Desecration of crosses

Is Goa at the cross-roads of religious disharmony?


What is happening in Goa? Is the question on most people’s minds! Goa has been the home of religious harmony and the symbol of unity in diversity for as long as most people can remember and much more. However, the recent spate of events have cast a spot light on the state and created an unnecessary tension among people.

While the issue of desecration is grave, people cutting across religious lines have come out strongly against the insinuations, simultaneously appealing for calm and pushing the authorities to clamp down firmly on the nefarious elements.

One move to scupper any signs of disharmony among the various religious communities in Goa is a peace march & music concert.

Singer Hema Sardesai, Edwin Fernandes, Anwar Sheikh, Allan Vaz, Amaan Sheikh, Aurville Rodrigues, Anthony Braganza, Priyanka Raikar, Roque Lazarus, Jhonny D’Cunha, Frazer Pacheco and others will hold a peace rally and music concert in a bid to spread the message that all Goans stand united.

“The aim behind organising this is that there are a few miscreants, they come on stage, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms and also with fake IDs and then say that things are not ok and there could be some problem. They try to put fear among us and with this peace rally and concert we want to show that all Goans are strong and no one can stop us,” said Sardesai.

The peace rally will begin at 5 pm from Margao Municipal Council building and go from the garden to Lohia Maidan where the music concert will be held.

The organisers stressed that this will be a non-political event and is aimed at celebrating unity, harmony and peace that has existed in Goa over the ages.

Desecration of crosses continue to stir religious sentiments

Five days after the desecration of the cemetery of the Guardian Angel Church, Curchorem, there has been no headway into the investigations. In the mean time there have been 5 more attacks on religious structures – four in Loutolim and one in Margao on Friday .

The police brass exuded confidence that “some certain clues” obtained by them could lead to detection of the case, but remain tight-lipped over the probe.

Police suspect that the same gang could be involved in the vandalisation of the cemetery at Curchorem and other cases of desecration of roadside structures that have been reported.

“Looking at the modus operandi in all the recent cases of desecration, it appears that the same gang may be involved,” South Goa SP Arvind Gawas told TOI, but hastened to add that nothing could be said for certain at this stage.

“We have obtained several clues from our investigations on which we are working meticulously. It is a massive exercise that we are presently engaged in which also entails elimination techniques of investigation in order to zero in on the suspects,” Gawas said.

Meanwhile, the parish priest of Guardian Angel Church, Curchorem, Fr Vital Miranda, speaking to TOI, said that he has appealed to the people to observe restraint and maintain communal harmony. “People have realized that these acts are aimed at disrupting communal amity, and so they have shown exemplary tolerance. I have appealed to the people to stay calm and not to get excited,” he said, adding that a special prayer service will be held at the Church on Friday.

At a time when the number of atrocities against certain religious communities are on the rise across the country, we as Goans must rise above hate, stay united like we have in the past, and work together to ensure than the immensely intricate fabric of religious harmony that has been sown over the years in Goa, is not ripped apart by these targeted attacks which are aimed solely at dividing the un-dividable.