One arrested in Goa cross desecration cases
Panaji: The Goa Police have arrested a 54-year-old Catholic layman in connection with a series of cases of alleged desecration of Christian religious symbols in the western Indian state.
Francis Pereira was arrested on July 14 by a team of special investigation officers from Curtorim village in South Goa. He reportedly told police that he believed that “that he is freeing the trapped souls”.
The police have continued the interrogation to ascertain the motive for desecration of crosses in different parts of southern Goa.
Goa’s Director General of Police Muktesh Chander said Pereira has claimed that he has been doing it since 2003 and that he has broken large number of such religious symbols in the past.
Search for the perpetrator was intensified following the desecration of a cross, found defiled, on July 13 in Margao town. State Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar called it a “planned crime.”
The accused was planning to desecrate an idol in the village. But he tried to flee from the spot on seeing a police team. During initial questioning, he admitted to having carried out the desecration of the religious symbols.
Parrikar has ruled out handing over the investigation into the incidents of desecration to the Central Bureau of Investigation, a federal agency, as being demanded by the Opposition Congress.
Expressing anguish over the incidents, the Goa Church had earlier said that the incidents seemed to be the handiwork of certain vested interests who wanted to provoke communal discord in the state, which is known for religious tolerance.