According to an IANS report, a statue of St Joseph Vaz, Goa’s first anointed saint, and a grotto of Mother Mary were desecrated at the St. Clara Church near Assanora on Friday morning, allegedly by a labourer believed to be “mentally unstable”, police said.
The incident occurred at Assnora village, located 20 km from Panaji.
“We have arrested one migrant labourer. We suspect he is mentally unstable and is not in a proper frame of mind. After filing an FIR, the accused has been sent to the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour for examination,” police inspector Chetan Patil told reporters.
According to the complaint filed by the Church authorities at the Mapusa Police Station on Friday, a statue of the 17th century saint of Goan origin was desecrated, along with an ornamental grotto (a depiction of a small cave) with a statue of Mother Mary.
Last year, Goa Police had claimed to have cracked a series of desecrations with the arrest of taxi driver Francis Pereira, who has been accused of allegedly defiling over 60 crosses and two Hindu idols across Goa.
However, Pereira was acquitted by the local courts due to lack of evidence and on his release, claimed that he was forced to confess to the desecration and vandalisation by senior Goa police officials and several Goa Ministers and his statements were doctored and dictated by a particular Minister. He even targeted Goa CM Manohar Parrikar, allegedly accusing him of fabricating evidence against him.
Last month, in another case of vandalisation, police booked a case against unknown persons for desecrating a cross at the St. Cajetan Church in south Goa, says the IANS report.
The Times of India reports that unidentified persons vandalised property at the St Clara church including the statue of St Joseph Vaz and the grotto of Mother Mary at Assonora. The lights of the compound wall and the cemetery and the parish priest’s car were also vandalised.
Window panes of two houses in the vicinity of the church were also stoned, reports Times of India.
The incident came to light early Friday morning. Sources said some locals informed the police about the incident at about 4am after seeing the stone pelter. The police have detained a suspect in connection with the case.
Police sources said that the alleged accused appears mentally unstable and has been sent to Institute of Psychiatry & Human Behaviour (IPHB) at Bambolim.
Mapusa police have registered a case under Sections 295, 447 and 427 of the IPC and are further investigating the case, says TOI.