Panaji: The Catholic Church in Goa on August 31 dismissed an allegation that it had tried to polarize voters on religious lines ahead of the recent by elections to the state legislative assembly.
The Church asked the state’s coalition government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not to make empty allegations against the religious institution.
Speaking to reporters in the state capital of Panaji, Father Maverick Fernandes, Director of Caritas – Goa, a charity arm of the Church, said the ruling party should come out with a point-to-point rebuttal of the report of a fact-finding team it had endorsed.
The report claims that the state police’s probe into a series of cross desecration in the state was a sham, India.com reported.
“Our report has been based on analysis, based on interviews of people at the grassroots level and it is based on a very studied, professional way of functioning. Empty statements of polarization cannot belittle the well-studied report,” the priest asserted.
A day earlier, BJP spokesperson Nilesh Cabral had accused the Goa Church’s official magazine and a fact-finding report by a Church-backed NGO of trying to polarize the atmosphere ahead of the August 23 bypoll.
“Attempts were being made to polarize 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 polarize the votes,” Cabral had said, while asking the Church to “tone-down” the language of the content in its official magazine ‘Renovacao’ (renewal) which linked contemporary India to Nazi Germany.
Father Fernandes said that those making allegations against the Church should logically provide a rebuttal for the points raised 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,” he asserted.