04/05/2018, 10.13
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Goa, Easter vigil: stones thrown at Carmelite monastery

by Nirmala Carvalho

A Christian woman was injured. Months ago a similar episode had occurred. Stones found hidden on the monastery stairway. Superior of the Carmelites: "Deliberate act to ruin the peaceful atmosphere".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Some criminals have stoned the Carmelite monastery of Margao, in the Indian state of Goa. The incident occurred during the Easter vigil and ruined the celebrations under way at that time.

Secretary for Archbishop of Goa, Fr. Joaquim Loiola Pereira, told AsiaNews: "We are 'saddened and surprised', that such an incident of stone throwing should happen in Goa, during the Easter Vigil, it is a first. It is disturbing that this could be the beginning of a trend that is already being seen in other States, but has never happened in Goa."

Carmelite superior Archie Gonsalves, told the local newspaper The Goan: " A year ago, two cars were damaged in stone throwing. Before that, a boy was injured in a similar incident. We used to think that this is the handiwork of an insane man, but now it is become clear that this is being done deliberately to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the Malbhat and Aquem areas of the city".

The monk tells the newspaper that on the night of 31 March the criminals threw three stones from a building adjacent to the place of Christian worship: the first one smashed on the ground, the second one injured a lady on one leg and the third caused slight damage to a parked vehicle. Local police visited the area on Monday morning (2 April) and found some stones similar to those used during the attack. The stones were hidden in a fissure of the monastery staircase, which according to the investigators would be used as a deposit.

The incident has created great concern within the community, above all because the day after was the celebration of the Easter Mass, which Msgr. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa and Daman was to have celebrated. Fr Gonsalves reports that the Carmelites "have no suspicions about anyone. All the people of the area - Christians, Hindus and Muslims - live in perfect harmony in Aquem and Malbhat. But there could be a handful of elements that want to disturb peace in the locality ". For this reason he asks that the Margao police take significant actions and stop similar sectarian incidents.

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