Forsaken by the Government, Goa Temple Panels Unite to tackle thefts, desecrations

published on January 8, 2011

300 temple panels unite to tackle thefts, desecrations

PANAJI: Around 300 temple managements across Goa, from all eleven talukas in the state, have organized themselves under the banner of Gomantak Mandir and Dharmik Sanstha Mahasangh to tackle cases of temple thefts and desecrations.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the Hindu leaders likened the state government’s approach to the cases of desecrations of Hindu places of worship to that of the Portuguese regime in Goa during the colonial rule.

Co-coordinator of the Mahasangh, Jayesh Thali said, “In the past six years, more than 50 idols in temples have been desecrated. More than 250 temples have been looted. The government has shown apathy towards this issue and not worked out any effective solution to stop the attacks on temples.”

Rajkumar Dessai, who is part of management of a temple located at Porvorim, said, “Portuguese laws are still in force in Goa to deal with temple thefts, only the name of the act has been changed. Under the act, there is no difference between a cupboard that is damaged and an idol in a temple that is desecrated. We want such laws to be discontinued.”

The Mahasangh has mobilized the faithful from across the state for a joint meeting to be held on January 8, 2011 at the Sri Sant Gadge Maharaj hall at Porvorim starting 4pm.

During the meet, free of cost legal assistance will be provided to temple committees with regard to cases of thefts and desecrations and participants will be mobilized “to compel the government to work out effective measures to curb the desecration of idols of deities and the increasing temple thefts.”

The Mahasangh is also against the state move of demolishing temples and Hindu shrines existing in government land.

Ramesh Shinde, head of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti for the regions of Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra, said, “The Goa government should draw a concrete plan to stop these attacks on temples. The Sateri temple in Curchorem has been looted five times. In the last one year, there were 13 cases of temple thefts in Mapusa. This means there is no fear of law and order in the state. If there was patrolling following the thefts, these incidents would not have occurred over and over again.”

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