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40 crosses, niches desecrated in Curchorem

11th July 2017, 10:28 Hrs

About 40 crosses and gravestones were desecrated at a cemetery in Curchorem in the wee hours of Monday, even as increased presence of law enforcement agencies proved ineffective to protect religious structures in Salcete and Quepem talukas from repeated acts of vandalism.

# Miscreants damage CCTV camera, lights to avoid being caught n Cops scout area, fumble for clues\r\rthe goan I network\rCURCHOREM\r\rThis is the fourth such desecration of religious structures in the two adjacent talukas since July. \rAccording to reports, the incident came to light sometime around 4.30 am, when a policeman on night patrol at the nearby Kabrastan heard some noises at the cemetery and alerted the Curchorem police station to dispatch a team to the cemetery. \rA police team rushed to the cemetery, but could not enter inside as the gate was locked. The police noticed many crosses and gravestones damaged, while a person was seen jumping over the compound wall of the cemetery and making good his escape. \rWhen the police entered the cemetery, they found the CCTV camera and focus light damaged, indicating that the miscreants had deliberately destroyed any evidence reveal his identity. \rThe 40-odd crosses, niches and gravestones desecrated included the grave of State’s first agriculture minister Tony Fernandes. \rThe area was searched under the guidance of Curchorem PI Shivram Vaigankar, but they could not find any clue. \rAs the news of desecration spread, South Goa Police SP Arvind Gawas, DySP Sammy Tavares, Margao PI C L Patil, Sanguem PI Sagar Ekoskar and Canacona PI Prabhudessai along with police teams rushed to Curchorem. A dog squad was pressed into service and the dogs sniffed a trail till the compound wall of the cemetery. Deputy Inspector General of Police Rupinder Kumar also visited the site during the day. \rIncidentally, the incident took place on the birthday of Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral and he visited the cemetery in the morning. \rDenouncing the incident,\r\rBid to cause unrest: Parish Priest \r\r\rCURCHOREM: Expressing concern over deliberate attempts to cause unrest in the parish, Curchorem Parish Priest Fr Vital Miranda has, however, appealed to his parishioners to maintain peace and calm in the interest of maintaining harmony in the area.\r“This is a deliberate attempt to cause unrest in parish, the second such incident in five days after two roadside crosses were damaged in our parish. \r\r\r\rOn both occasions, I repeatedly requested our people to maintain calm,” said Fr Miranda, while speaking to The Goan.\r“After the Mass on Monday morning, we even prayed for perpetrators so that they could reform themselves.”\rFr Miranda said he was made aware of the incident at about 4.30 am when he was alerted by the sacristan that 40 crosses, niches and gravestones were damaged at the cemetery, which is about 600 metres from the church.\r“Had the police not rushed to the cemetery in time, the miscreants could easily have damaged over 300 crosses, niches and gravestones,” said Fr Miranda.\rFr Miranda immediately reported the matter to the Bishop’s House in Panaji and a police complaint was filed later in the morning.\rMeanwhile, Fr Victor Ferrao, professor at Rachol Seminary, also appealed to all Goans and particularly Catholics to maintain calm saying, “we are all pained by the recent spate of desecrations. May God give us the grace to tide over this crisis.”
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