In the last fortnight, 12 crosses were were found desecrated in South Goa. These incidents which began on 1st July, had led the Church of Goa to speculate that the desecration could have been carried out by vested interests, to sow communal discord in the region.
Crosses weren’t the only structures which were being desecrated. 50 gravestones were also found damaged on 9th July in the South Goan town of Curchorem. We had also reported that apart from crosses, a temple was also desecrated in the same region.
Now it seems the police has managed a breakthrough in this case by arresting a person named Francis Pereira. He was arrested on the intervening night of 14th and 15th while he was in the process of desecrating a cross.
Francis is believed to be a member of a sect which is a sub class between Catholics. He is reportedly a bachelor and lives in Kudchade.
The interrogation of Francis brought out surprising facts regarding the incident. He after confessing to the 12 cases of desecration stated that he had done so ‘casually’ and wanted to promote no enmity. Francis also claimed that he didn’t plan his endeavours and whenever he saw a cross he used to hit it.
Local reports further elaborated that point. According to one report, he used to break religious shrines in order to ‘release the souls trapped in them’. He, according to the police, believed that souls if remained trapped in shrines, graves and statues, end up becoming devils and help the politicians. He has now been sent to a 3 day police custody.
The police hopes that after Francis’s arrest, they would be able to crack over 150 cases of similar desecration which have been reported in the last 15 years. Francis might be responsible for at least some of them, as reports indicate that he has been breaking shrines for 14 years.
Even though Francis has been arrested and has also reportedly confessed his crime, it has failed to assuage various political and religious organisations in the state. The organisations are reportedly refusing to believe that it was a one man job and want the cops to find out who is the ‘mastermind’ behind the whole exercise.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who had discussed the matter with the Curchorem police in person, had reportedly notified the media that the police are probing whether there was any guiding hand behind Francis.
Meanwhile the BJP MLA from Curchorem, Nilesh Cabral has given a political spin to the whole incident by claiming that Francis was an active AAP supporter. He has also generously decided to award the police team Rs 50,000 for cracking the case.
As Francis turned out to be a christian, it has prompted the Hindu group, Sanatan Sanstha to demand a public apology from those who blamed them for the desecration.