Friday, May 30, 2014
BJP leader accuses priest of spreading religious discontent, compares him to the extremist Hindu fundamentalist Pramod Muthalik
Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday accused Gujarat-based Catholic priest and human rights activist Father Cedric Prakash of trying to spread religious and social discontent based on "falsehoods" in Goa before the general election.
Equating the priest with controversial Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, Parrikar, justifying police action against Facebooker Devu Chodankar following his anti-Narendra Modi posts, said action should have been taken against Prakash too.
"Father Cedric Prakash has said much more serious things which were not true," Parrikar said, while addressing a press conference here.
Ahmedabad-based Prakash, a Jesuit priest, made a whirlwind tour of Goa with the support of the Roman Catholic Church in Goa, during which he accused Modi of religious intolerance and attacked the Gujarat model of governance.
He further alleged that in Gujarat every one lived in fear.
"The voice of the media has been throttled and muzzled. People in Gujarat are living in fear. IAS officers are living in fear. The lives of their families have been ruined," Prakash claimed at a meeting at the Grace Church hall in Margao, in south Goa March 20, a few weeks before Goa went to polls.
Parrikar also said that he despised those who "used religion for politics" and clubbed both Prakash, as well as Muthalik, head of the notorious right-wing Sri Rama Sene, in the same bracket. Muthalik has often triggered controversy in the past by attacking patrons of pubs in Mangalore for adopting "Western culture", and exhorting Hindus to arm themselves with swords.
"I count Father Cedric and Pramod Muthalik as the same. People who use religion as a tool for electioneering are dangerous," said Parrikar, whose government is being accused by the opposition as well as civil society of carrying out a witch hunt against Chodankar.
In Goa, where the Catholics account for nearly one-third of the population, Prakash's whirlwind pre-election lecture tour and a circular by the Church imploring voters to cast ballots in favour of a secular candidate did dent the BJP vote tally, even though the party managed to win both the seats from the state in the Lok Sabha election.
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