Goa Undivided: Can fanaticism break Goa’s inherent social harmony?
Last month Goa was jolted by a spate of desecration of crosses, causing grief and alarm to the Catholic community in the state. “The method of destruction was the same everywhere – the base of the cross was broken by hitting it with some heavy implement,” says Father Savio Fernandes, executive secretary of the Council for Social Justice and Peace, which has been engaged in fact-finding studies into the desecrations. In some places the headstones on the graves and niches – where families preserve the mortal remains of a departed member – were broken. Goa Police has arrested Francis Pereira, a resident of Curchorem for the desecrations and claimed that he has confessed to the crime. But more desecrations were reported after Pereira’s arrest. The mood in Goa is one of apprehension. The breaking of the crosses is being viewed as only a manifestation of the actual danger, the danger of an attempt being made to divide Goan society on the basis of religion.