Treat cross, idol desecrators as terrorists: Goa minister

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Panaji, July 10 (IANS) Persons involved in desecration of articles of religious worship in Goa, like crosses and Hindu idols, should be treated like terrorists and shot, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Sardesai said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government in Goa, headed by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, considered the acts of desecration as “acts of terror” and had, therefore, handed the investigation of the serial desecration to the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

“Any person attempting to do this (desecration) should be shot at. I am not saying shot dead… I am saying shot at. In other words, I am saying, any person intentionally desecrating crosses and religious places of worship, with an intention to create communal disharmony, should be treated like a terrorist,” Sardesai said.

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“The government of Manohar Parrikar has given this case to the ATS. Why have they given this case to the ATS? Because they believe that the person who is doing this is a terrorist. ATS does not investigate simple thefts, it investigates crimes of terror, acts of terror.

“So, the government actually believes that this is an act of terror,” he said on a day when unidentified persons in the wee hours of Monday damaged over 40 crosses, grave stones and plaques at a Catholic cemetery in Curchorem village, located around 45 km south of Panaji.

This is the fourth such incident in the last one month involving desecration of religious artefacts.

“There is no attack on churches and temples, it is desecration of crosses and desecration of some Hindu places of worship. My personal opinion is that this is an act of terror,” the minister said, adding that through planned desecrations, an attempt was being made to project the incumbent government as minority-unfriendly.

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