//Riots: Muslim federation demands judicial probe

Riots: Muslim federation demands judicial probe

NT Staff Reporter

Panaji, March 5: The Federation of Muslim Jamaats and Association today demanded a judicial inquiry into the communal violence, in Sanvordem and Curchorem towns, which targeted the members of the minority community.

A delegation of the federation led by its chairperson, Mr M K Sheikh called on the Chief Minister, Mr Pratapsingh Rane and sought a probe into the communal violence.

Later, Mr Sheikh told this paper that the federation had also demanded 100 per cent compensation to the members of the minority community for the losses suffered by them during the riots.

Mr Sheikh informed that the delegation had urged the Chief Minister to deploy provide adequate security to the minority community in the state anticipating an attack from the “fundamentalist forces” of the majority community.

He said the delegation urged Mr Rane to ensure that Muslim leaders are not arrested or harassed by the police under any excuse.

Mr Sheikh said the Chief Minister had given an assurance to the delegation that the government would pay cent per cent compensation to the riot victims. He further said the Chief Minister told the delegation that the government would consider the demand for ordering a judicial inquiry into the incident. The delegation also called on the AICC secretary, Mr Sidharth Patel.

The Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Rev Filipe Neri Ferrao expressed serious concern over riots in Sanvordem and appealed to the people of Goa to refrain from confrontations and instead join hands to build a better tomorrow

In a press-note issued here today the Archbishop said that if peace is the aspiration of every man and woman of good will, for the followers of Christ it is a demanding mission. “I appeal, therefore, to all the members of the Catholic Church in Goa to pray to Jesus, for his abundant blessings on our beloved land and also for his strength to be active heralds of peace in the world of today,” the Archbishop said.

Referring to the recent and unprecedented communal violence in Sanvordem-Curchorem, the Archbishop said that the communal violence cannot but evoke concern and outrage from every peace-loving and right-thinking resident of Goa.

“The only explanation one finds for the first provocation and the ensuing riots in that town is that they appear to be engineered by vested political interests whose main agenda seems to be to divide, no matter what the cost! — in order to rule,” Archbishop said.

Pointing out that the illegalities are to be dealt with by the concerned authorities, not by extremists, the Archbishop said the ‘soul’ of justice is truth and anyone who is committed to truth cannot but denounce the law of the might, which is based on a lie and which so often has marked human history with tragedy.

“The lie often parades itself as truth, but, in reality, it is always designed by selfishness and by the crave to manipulate and control. And this crave takes one of its most heinous forms when it strikes at and thrives on religious sensibilities. Some political systems in our land offer a bitter illustration of this. Our heart goes out to all those who suffered loss of property and limb, whatever their religious affiliations or public status,” Archbishop said.

Meanwhile, the United Goans Democratic Party has termed the communal flare-up at Sanvordem-Curchorem as unprecedented and called for it to be immediately contained.

The secretary general of the UGDP, Mr Anaclato Viegas said, “Goa and Goans are known across the world as peace loving people. They have withstood all such problems in the past following their rich tradition of communal harmony,” he said. The UGDP has also questioned the role of the administration and the law enforcing authorities in the entire episode.

Concerned citizens today met in Margao in response to an appeal made by Lok Shakti and decided to initiate immediate steps to defuse the volatile communal tensions which erupted at Sanvordem.

Addressing reporters at a city hotel here, the president of the Lok Shakti, Mr Datta Naik said that it the time to “protect your neighbour and preserve your neighbourhood” and not to fall prey to the rumors and instigation spread by political forces with an eye on reaping political benefits at the cost of the peace and harmony.

Mr Naik blamed the lethargic attitude of the district administration and the police for the incident. He alleged that the leader of opposition who until recently held the home portfolio was adding fuel to the communal fire for his own ulterior political motives.

In a late night development, the BJP MLA from Curchorem, Mr Ramrao Dessai told this newspaper over telephone that RAF and policemen deployed in the are were harassing the locals by forcefully entering their houses. The police however strongly denied the incident and urged the public not to fall prey to such rumours.