A sting operation conducted jointly by IndiaScribes.com and the Goa Citizens Action Forum (GCAF) has revealed that Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, under tremendous pressure from his coalition partners and his own Dy CM Michael Lobo had manipulated the entire police investigations into the desecration of religious structures in Goa.
Top sources in the Goa police as well as the Goa DGP Dr Muktesh Chander’s office revealed to IndiaScribes.com Editor – Investigations, Flynn Remedios that the Goa police were “instructed” to immediately “arrest” some one who fit the “profile” of a desecration culprit, and it would be better if the alleged accused was a “Catholic”.
The entire controversy was hatched outside Goa and Parrikar was out of the state – on a US trip when a spurt of desecrations took place.
Under pressure from Catholics in his constituency Calangute MLA Michael Lobo declared that the police were not doing enough and demanded a CBI probe or a SIT investigation. Lobo said the police were incompetent and lack the infrastructure and training to nail a sophisticated culprit.
GCAF spokesperson Firoz A Khan said that the police were constantly “instructed” by the CMs office and were personally “guided” by the CM in the matter. Parrikar was the one who spoke to the press and more than once, Parrikar’s initial version dished out to the media contradicted with the police version released later on. However, by then Parrikar’s version had gone viral and whatever Parrikar said was taken as gospel truth – both by the media and the police who could not contradict Parrikar even if they wanted to.
A senior police official told IndiaScribes.com how the frustrated Goa Police just gave up in front of Parrikar as they were not able to conduct an independent investigation even if they wanted to. “He (Parrikar) dictated everything to us. Told us what to do and what do say, when asked by the media. We wanted to nail the actual culprits but it would need time and forensic police work. Parrikar told us he did not have time and instructed us to do his bidding.”
Some senior officials in the Goa Police who were part of the investigations told IndiaScribes.com that the “Israeli prisoners brainwashing Francis in jail” was Parrikar’s theory and statement and Francis never said it. However, later on, taking a cue from Parrikar, certain officers in the force “brainwashed” Francis and recorded his statements as such. Francis has been made a scape goat. He is a victim of a major HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION and POLICE BRUTALITY, brought upon him by Goan politicians with vested interests led by the CM Manohar Parrikar who had to put out the political fires raging in Goa at any cost.
Francis fit the bill to a T and he was one culprit who could be cajoled, threatened and even bought. He was promised that he would be released within a month if he just kept his mouth shut and did as the cops said. In fact, Tv grabs and media photos show a joyful Francis laughing and joking with equally happy police officials, revealed Khan.
Even the Church body the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) and the Centre of Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) — has supported the claim that Francis was made scapegoat. In its report released on Monday it has recommended that a special investigation team be constituted under the supervision of either the high court of Bombay at Goa or the Supreme Court to “impartially investigate” the desecration cases and bring justice to all involved. The report has alleged that the police conducted a “very lazy investigation” that was “also supported, backed and influenced politically”.
According to a Times of India report, the fact finding team comprising members of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman’s social work wing — the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) and the Centre of Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) has debunked the Government theory that Francis was the sole culprit.
Director of CSSS Irfan Engineer alleged that investigation by police stopped because of political influence, he alleged. “The police didn’t dig deeper because immediately the CM of Goa declared they have found the accused. It’s not the business of the CM to declare somebody guilty even before the man has been charge-sheeted and put on trial by a court. Taking the hint, the police stopped their investigation,” he reporters on Monday.
The police made a scapegoat of Francis Pereira following mounting pressure from citizens and civil society, he said, adding that Pereira’s confession is the only evidence that the police relied on.
The team visited Francis Pereira’s family in Curchorem. Pereira was arrested last month in connection with the spate of cases of desecration of religious structures witnessed in the state. Executive secretary of council for social justice and peace, Fr Savio Fernandes, said that although a bachelor, Pereira was very much a family man, who supported his family and was in good relations with everyone. “He never destroyed the altar and statues in his home,” Fernandes said, denying Parrikar and the Goa Police’s claims that Francis destroyed religious statues at his home as soon as he was released from prison after being influenced by the Israelis.
“He is a family man and hard worker who also runs a taxi business and has a good relationship with his customers. This is the image that the family members have given,” Executive secretary of Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), Fr Savio Fernandes, said, adding that the family were “surprised” when he was arrested and “find it difficult to believe the investigation”.
It is difficult to believe that Pereira is the culprit or only culprit, director of Centre of Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), Irfan Engineer, said, explaining that they find that it is impossible for a single man of his stature to demolish so many gravestones made of stone. Engineer said there is no medical certificate to prove Pereira was not in his senses.
Fernandes, said the report will be submitted to the police and various human right agencies, and a call will be taken later on whether to file a PIL or not.
The team that released its 24-page, fact-finding report on the desecration of 50-odd crosses and gravestones in the state last month, has also recommended that legal action be taken under Section 153A and Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against hate speeches made at the Hindu conclave held in the state in June.
The report said that extreme right wing outfits in Goa have been spreading disharmony in the state, referring to the all-India Hindu conclave in Goa where Sadhvi Saraswati called for open violence against beef eaters.
“No action was taken by the state against her and others who spewed venom and hatred against Muslims and Christians and incited violence against them,” a summary of the report stated.
“That the social fabric of Goa is being demolished, and a government formed to uphold constitutional norms is twiddling its thumbs and defending this in the name of freedom of speech, is most condemnable,” Engineer said.