05/24/2018, 09.33
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Goa cross smashed. Sajan K George: Intolerance against Christians

by Nirmala Carvalho

The Christian religious symbol was found smashed next to the St Cajetan Chapel. The desecration took place in the village of Raia. Last year a 50-year-old was accused of desecrating more than 150 religious structures, but the charges against him were dropped and he is currently out on bail.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A cross has been smashed into pieces in Goa and police have registered the case against unknown persons.

Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), reports to AsiaNews "a growing climate of intolerance against the Christian faith" that manifests itself "even towards the pastoral letters that the bishops address to the faithful".

Citing the case of the archbishop of Delhi who asked Catholics in his diocese to pray and fast in view of the general elections of 2019, the Christian leader says: "Even pastoral letters issued to the faithful are being exploited as a tool to intimidate minorities even more " . On the contrary, yesterday talking to some journalists, the Interior Minister had said that there is no intolerance in India and that all minorities are safe.

The desecration of the cross took place on May 22 in the village of Raia, about 40 km from Panaji (South Goa). In the night the religious symbol was found in pieces next to the chapel of San Gaetano. An agent reports that "some people have found the damaged cross and immediately informed the chapel committee". The following day the church authorities filed a complaint in the Maina-Curtorim station. A forensic unit has been deployed on site to collect evidence.

Sajan K George complains that in 2015, "in the State of Telangana hit by a severe drought, the chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao decided to spend 70 million rupees [more than 872 thousand euros, ed] for the 'Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam', a Hindu ritual of 10 days. Since the new Indian state was created [in 2014, editor's note], at least 1,840 peasants have committed suicide, but the extreme right-wing forces remain silent in the face of these rituals that are celebrated in a state plagued by poverty and debts ".

The president of the GCIC recalls that in the State of Goa numerous desecrations of Christian places of worship occurred in July last year. "Following these incidents - he adds - a 50-year-old named Francis Pereira, from the village of Curchorem was arrested. The police claimed that he was involved in the desecration of more than 150 religious structures in the last 15 years, after being indoctrinated against the worship of idols by a former Israeli cellmate, during a brief period of imprisonment ". Instead, he concludes, "at the time the accused was released on bail, after a court at the beginning of this year rejected the three cases against him".

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