Thursday, July 21, 2005

Crosses Desecrated in Goa

Panaji, Goa, July 20, (Alexandre Moniz Barboza):

There has been a sudden spurt in cases of crosses being desecrated in Goa. Four such cases have come to the notice of the authorities, three of them within a week's time. A cross at Farmagudi Ponda was found damaged this week, while two crosses were found desecrated on the morning of Thursday, 14 July again in Ponda Taluka in Central Goa.

The crosses at Tisk and Daag in Ponda taluka, were apparently vandalised during the night of Wednesday to Thursday, as villagers claim to have seen the full crosses the previous evening.

The Cross at Tisk has been damaged a second time in two years and it belongs to the Mount Carmel Chapel in the area. The cross has been partially damaged. The other cross at Daag, standing in private property was totally destroyed. The cross at Farmagudi was slightly damaged, but coming soon after the other incidents is a matter of alarm. Some weeks back, a cross at Opa, again in Ponda taluka was found to be desecrated.

Goa, is dotted with crosses along the roads and some have been erected in private property and these are the venues of litanies during the month of May, when the feast of the Holy Cross is celebrated. The roadside crosses are easily accessible and perhaps hence the miscreants doing the rounds.

It is suspected that the same group of vandals could have damaged the crosses. The police are investigating.

In peaceful Goa, such incidents where Catholic churches and crosses have in the past been desecrated, have not evoked tension among the communities as all communities join together to condemn such vandalism. However, this does not deter miscreants from attempting to incite communal tension in the State.