Nearly a fortnight after an article in a Church-run magazine compared the Bharatiya Janta Party-led government to Hitler’s rise in Germany, the Congress party in Goa came out in support of the article and said that the BJP’s rule in Goa was akin to the Nazi rule in Germany, reports The Hindu.
“The BJP is rightfully charged by the Renovacao magazine that the BJP rule in Goa is like the rule of the Nazis in Germany and the BJP should feel ashamed that its activities compel the people to think in that manner,” Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president and former Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik said.
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While addressing a press conference, Naik also took strong objection to the statements made by BJP Curchorem MLA and spokesperson Nilesh Cabral who accused a Church-backed body of trying to create communal tension.
“It is the moral duty of the minority community MLAs in the BJP to question the BJP leadership as to why the BJP is playing the game of cat and mouse with Christians,” Naik said.
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An article appeared in “Renovacao”-a pastoral bulletin published by the Diocesan Centre For Social Communications Media of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. The article, written by a lawyer FE Noronha, had called up on voters to vote against communal forces such as the BJP in order to put a stop to “nationwide fascism”.
“It is not less than a Nazi rule in Goa by BJP. Here in Goa, Sadhavi Sarasvati came and said that beef eaters should be hanged in public and no FIR was lodged by the BJP government for her communal statements,” Naik charged.
According to a report in The Hindu, keeping the “desecration controversy alive, the Congress on Friday demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the series of desecration involving around 100 holy crosses, graves and some Hindu temple idols, particularly in South Goa over the last few months.
Goa Congress president Shantaram Naik said on Friday that only a thorough probe by the CBI would help get to the bottom of the series 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 inquiry into the desecration series,” Mr. Naik said.
Mr. Naik attacked the ruling BJP calling the party anti-minorities.
The Goa Police in July had arrested a taxi driver Francis Pereira(50) of Curchorem in South Goa recently as accused in the desecration cases. Police claimed that Pereira was of “unsound mind” and was responsible for more than 100 desecration cases across the state in last some years.
Prior to that, the Police also claimed to have tracked down a native of Jharkhand for another desecration of 12 crosses in Madkai village of Ponda taluk in July, but said that he was psychologically unwell and would be brought to Goa after he recuperates.
However, a report of a fact-finding committee involving a Goa Church affiliated boy, Council for Social Justice and Peace, which claimed that the police investigation into the desecration series is a sham has invited censure from the ruling BJP which called it an unsuccessful attempt to polarise voters ahead of recently held two assembly by-elections which were comfortably won by the BJP.
Goa’s Roman Catholic Church on Thursday dismissed a charge made by a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson on Wednesday that it tried to polarise the pre-poll atmosphere. The Church asked the government not to make hollow allegations.
Fr. Maverick Fernandes, director of Caritas-Goa, a charity wing of the Church, said that the ruling party should come out with a point-by-point rebuttal of a fact-finding report released last week. The report found out that the probe launched by the Goa police into a series of desecration of Christian religious symbols was a sham.
Fr. Fernandes said, “Our report has been based on analysis and interviews with people at the grass-root level. Empty statements of polarisation cannot belittle the well-studied report. You have to come out with a straightforward rebuttal of every point that has been made in the report. Empty statements cannot be considered for as a rebuttal.”
On Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Nilesh Cabral said, “Attempts were made to polarise the atmosphere before the by-elections. Who gave the fact-finding committee authority? It was wrong to try to polarise the votes.” Mr. Cabral had said at a press conference at the BJP headquarters here that the Church had to “tone-down” the language of the content in its official magazine Renovacao, which linked contemporary India under NDA rule to Nazi-Germany.
During the by-elections to the two assembly constituencies of Valpoi and Panaji, where there is a significant presence of Catholic voter, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had steered clear of the controversy over the probe into the desecrations and the article published against the BJP rule.
According to an IANS report Cabral said, “Attempts were being made to polarise society before the elections… Who is the fact-finding committee and who gave authority to the fact finding mission? It was wrong to try to polarise the votes,” Cabral had said, while asking the Church to “tone-down” the language of the content in its official magazine ‘Renovacao’ which linked contemporary India to Nazi Germany.
Fernandes however said that those who make allegations against the Church, should logically provide a rebuttal for the points made out in the fact-finding report.
“You have to come out with very straightforward rebuttal of every point that has been made. Empty statements cannot be considered as a rebuttal,” Fernandes said.
with inputs from IANS, Times of India & The Hindu