Monday, January 05, 2004

RSS sees Shiva lingam in stone in stone near Panaji church

Panaji, January 4: A BLOCK of carved stone, which was found in the compound of the Bishop's Palace in Panaji, has become the centre of a controversy.

Church authorities say the stone was found in the palace premises after part of a wall was broken during renovation. But as rumours spread that the stone was found while the ground was dug up, RSS and allied organisations began to lay claim to it earlier this week.

According to Raju Velingkar, in-charge of the RSS Vishwa Samvaad Kendra, the stone was part of a "Shiva Lingam" destroyed by the Portuguese and will have to be "located" where it was found. Sources said a group led by BJP councillors Pritam Rane and Deepak Mapusekar and RSS leader Raju Sukerkar had attempted to gatecrash the Bishop's Palace and make away with the stone on Monday.

But officials at the Bishop's Palace, located just 50 metres from CM Manohar Parrikar's official residence, prevented them from doing so and insisted that the object would be handed over only to the government. Father Olavo Velho Pereira, director of the Diocesan Centre for Social Commu-nicatioas Media, said a process was underway to establish the stone's authenticity. Department of Archaeology and Archives director M.L. Dicholkar said the object would be shifted to the Goa State Musuem and has written to church authorities in this regard.

(Indian Express 5.1.04)