‘Restoration of temples razed in Portuguese era can’t be dubbed communal’

The government’s intention to restore religious structures which were destroyed during the Portuguese colonial era should not be dubbed as communal, Goa’s Archives and Archaeology Minister Subash Phaldesai said on Monday, adding there was a need to articulate the history of the times, during the brutal Inquisition phase, which has been swept under the carpet.

Speaking to reporters soon after taking charge of the Archives and Archaeology Ministry, Phaldesai also said that apart from Hindu temples, if religious structures of other faiths were destroyed during the colonial era, they too would be restored by the BJP-led coalition government in the state.

“There is no call for controversy. The atrocities committed in this land, including the Inquisition and conversion and our Gods and temples were destroyed. This is a good intention on part of the government, nobody should have any doubt about it. Some people call this a communal (measure). Why should it be considered communal?” Phaldesai said.

“It is not only Hindu temples which we are talking about, if anything else related to another religion was destroyed, then definitely that will come under this. We look forward to establish and transfer our history to the coming generations. What was our tradition, what was our ancient history. How we evolved to this (stage). We need to do all this,” he added.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in his budget speech in March had allocated Rs 20 crore for restoration of temples destroyed during the colonial Portuguese era. While the CM’s move has attracted opposition from certain quarters, Phaldesai said that religious persecution was a reality and should not be brushed under the carpet.

“We are not promoting anything for a specific religion. The temples where atrocities were committed, where made slaves and were razed to the ground, if we are trying to restore them, then why should anyone have an objection. We have been quiet so far about the atrocities committed on us. But history cannot be pushed under the carpet like this,” Phaldesai said.

The Archives and Archaeology Minister also said restoration would only be carried out in places where there was no dispute or litigation.

“What is the objection in carrying out such restoration in areas where there is no controversy, where there is no disputed area. If there is a dispute it can be addressed, there is the judiciary, there are mechanisms to maintain law and order,” Phaldesai said.

“We can do this in a place where there is no dispute or claims. Monuments which were damaged during that period will be restored,” he added.

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