Goa Congress accuses BJP of 'inciting hostility' towards Catholic priests

Girish Chodankar said two local BJP leaders accused the priests of polarising the people of Salcete

Congress leader Girish Chodankar (photo: @girishgoa/X)
Congress leader Girish Chodankar (photo: @girishgoa/X)


The Congress party in Goa on Thursday, 13 June, filed a complaint with the police against two local BJP leaders, accusing them of inciting hostility towards Catholic priests in the state and demanded action against them.

Congress leader Girish Chodankar filed the complaint against BJP spokesman Giriraj Pai Vernekar and Mormugao MLA Sankalp Amonkar, hours after they addressed a press conference claiming that Catholic priests worked against BJP's official candidate Pallavi Dempo in South Goa, resulting in her defeat in the Lok Sabha elections held on 7 May.

In the complaint, filed with Margao police station in South Goa, Chodankar said the statements made by the two BJP leaders incited hostility towards Catholic priests.

He said Vernekar and Amonkar accused Catholic priests of polarising the people of Salcete (a subdivision of the district of South Goa), attributing this as the reason for the BJP's loss in the South Goa parliamentary constituency.

"It is important to note that the BJP is in power both at the Centre and the state, and has access to government machinery including the CID and election officers who are responsible for taking action against any violation of the model code of conduct during election campaigns," he said in the complaint.

"It is evident that Vernekar is trying to find a scapegoat for his party's poor performance and has unjustly targeted religious leaders," Chodankar added.

The former Goa Congress chief said such statements of frustration post-election can lead to communal division, tension, and can even trigger violence between communities.

"Their accusations have the capacity to incite right-wing groups to target religious leaders, which could escalate into a situation akin to the unrest seen in Manipur," he said.

Chodankar demanded that a case be filed against both the leaders on the charge of promoting enmity between different groups and for deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings, and any other relevant clauses of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or any law in force.

It is crucial to send a clear message that such incitement will not be tolerated, he said.

When contacted, a senior police officer in South Goa said that they have received the complaint and it would be examined.

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