Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao on Tuesday said, that he is "deeply pained" by the recent spate of religious desecrations, suggesting that the violent acts were aimed at provoking communal discord and promotion of religious hatred.
"The Church in Goa is deeply pained with the recent spate of desecrations of religious structures and burial places of the Christian community, along with a stray incident also targetting the Hindu community in the State," Ferrao said in a statement issued here.
"These violent incidents seem to be designed by vested interests to provoke communal discord and promote religious hatred. While we strongly condemn the same, I personally appeal to our brothers and sisters of all faiths to refrain from taking any retaliatory action or even fanning the flame of religious hatred in their hearts," he added.
The statement comes in wake of a series of desecrations of Catholic and Hindu religious symbols, including the incident on Monday, when several Catholic crosses were smashed and grave-stones broken at a cemetery in south Goa's Curchorem town, located 45 km from Panaji.
Goa's Catholic community accounts for nearly one third of the coastal state's population and the Archbishop is its spiritual leader.
Ferrao also said that "violence seems to have become the order of the day", while urging people to keep calm and maintain the state's unique traditional inter-religious harmony.
"We urge the government authorities to thoroughly investigate these acts of vandalism and to bring the perpetrators to book," he added.
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