Goa temples form alliance to tackle thefts, desecrations

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PANAJI - In view of a Special Investigation Team’s failure to crack down on the rising incidence of temple thefts and desecration of idols in Goa, more than 300 temples in the state have formed a sort of alliance to tackle the menace.

Jayesh Thali, coordinator of Gomantak Mandir and Dharmik Sanstha Mahasangh (GMDSM), told reporters in Panaji Thursday that the continuing thefts and vandalisation of temples throughout the state and the failure of the state government to take adequate action forced the temple managements to cobble together the alliance.

“In the past six years, more than 50 idols (housed) in 35 temples have been desecrated. Likewise, official records show that more than 250 temples have been looted,” Thali said.

Inspite of such attacks still taking place, the government has shown apathy towards this grave issue,” Thali added.

An unending series of thefts in several temples and some churches in the state had forced Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to appoint a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to crack down on the culprits way back in mid 2009.

A year and a half later, while the SIT has failed to nab a single accused in the theft cases, the number of break-ins in religious temples and instances of thefts and desecration has only spiralled into three digits.

The state home department had also mooted setting up of a special vigilante force last year by training local youth through the police department and roping in their help to keep vigil in and around temple premises. But that exercise too came to a naught.

Over the last month itself, three major temples including the renowned Chandreshwar temple was broken into in south Goa, 50 km from here.

“The main objective of the GMDSM is to maintain coordination among temples and religious organisations to provide free-of-cost legal assistance to temple committees to resolve legal matters and to compel the government to work out measures to curb desecration of idols and increasing thefts,” Thali said.

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