Congress demands CBI probe into Goa religious desecrations

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Panaji, Sep 1 (IANS) The Congress on Friday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the series of desecration of more than 100 Catholic crosses, graves and some Hindu religious icons over the last few months in Goa.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji on Friday, Congress state president Shantaram Naik said that only a thorough probe by the CBI would help get to the bottom of the several month-long series of desecration of crosses, in which the state police have arrested two persons, both of whom are alleged to be “mentally unstable”.

“We are going to write a letter to the central Home Ministry and at the same time request the Chief Minister of Goa to request the Centre to institute a CBI enquiry into the desecrations,” Naik said.

The Goa Police in July had arrested a 50-year-old taxi driver Francis Pereira in connection with the desecration of over 60 crosses as well as other Catholic icons and two Hindu idols across Goa. Police claimed that Pereira was of “unsound mind” and was responsible for more than 100 desecrations across the state spread over a decade.

Police also claimed to have tracked down a native of Jharkhand for another desecration of 12 crosses in Ponda sub-district’s Madkai constituency, in July, but said that he was psychologically unwell and would be brought to Goa after he recuperates.

A report of a fact-finding committee co-authored by the Goa Roman Catholic Church-backed NGO, the Council for Social Justice and Peace, has claimed that the police investigation into the desecration series is a sham.

“The police are either under tremendous political pressure to close the case and toe the political line or are unwilling to get to the real culprits,” the report claims, while alleging a much “deeper conspiracy”.

–IANS

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