The BJP on Sunday, 14 April, wrote to the Election Commission, seeking action against a Catholic priest, who has reportedly made remarks suggesting that late former chief minister Manohar Parrikar's cancer was a ‘punishment from God’. The BJP has said that this controversial statement could destabilise religious harmony in Goa.
Parrikar passed away earlier in 2019 after losing his year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
In a video, parish priest Father Conceição da Silva is reportedly heard speaking to his parishioners, asking them not to vote for the BJP and also accused them of harassing minorities, reported IANS.
In the same video, he alleges that Parrikar died of cancer because he had incurred the wrath of God for ignoring complaints about pollution and for trying to cancel government holidays of the Catholics.
"It (coal dust) is all over, in the food, water, houses. People protested, held morchas, (rally/march) meetings, but Parrikar did not pay heed. His pockets were filled. Therefore, God gave him cancer," he stated, reported IANS.
"Parrikar had even tried to take away school holidays. And he died in suffering. Pancreatic cancer is the worst cancer. Those who cross the path of God are invariably punished," he said.
General secretary of BJP’s Panaji mandal Vishnu Naik, in his complaint, said, “The said video clip depicts a religious priest addressing people within the building of a religious institution and creating an atmosphere of hate and fear against a particular political party and a specific religion. This matter needs a thorough investigation and the said priest must be booked for spreading hate and destabilising religious harmony," reported The Times of India.
The secretary to the archbishop Father Joaquim Loiola Pereira said that the archbishop’s office was aware of the issue but was not pursuing the matter.
“I am aware of the video and the people at the Bishop’s house have been informed about it. We have ceased pursuing the matter,” Father Loiola Pereira said, reported Hindustan Times.
(With inputs from IANS, The Times of India and Hindustan Times.)