Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Cops maintain vigilance amid tension over statue in Areal

Cops maintain vigilance amid tension over statue in Areal

A group of policemen seen deployed close to the Shivaji statue at Sao Jose de Area as a precautionary measure.

Photo Credits: Santosh Mirajkar

Whilst the villagers of Sao Jose de Areal held a candlelight procession in the village concerning the Shivaji statue controversy, law enforcement officers remained vigilant near the statue site as a precautionary measure.

A robust police team from the South Goa district was deployed in the village as a precaution and to prevent any potential disturbances to public order.

Sources indicated that a group of policemen were stationed very close to the location where the Shivaji statue was erected by Shiv Premis on Shiv Jayanti on February 19. Additionally, police checkpoints were established at various points in the village as a precautionary measure.

The police breathed a sigh of relief as the villagers' gathering concluded peacefully with a candlelight procession, during which the villagers prayed for peace in the village.

Goa police personnel have been stationed in the hilly and rocky property owned by Sartaj Makandar since tensions arose between villagers and the Shiv Premis over the installation of the Shivaji statue on Sunday.

The protection of the statue is of significance, especially in light of a petition filed by Velim MLA Cruz Silva and villagers to the South district Collector requesting security measures in and around the statue to maintain peace and harmony.

MLA Cruz highlighted the threat issued by Bajrang Dal leader Viraj Desai, stating that members of the right-wing organization would not remain passive if any attempt was made to damage the statue. Cruz emphasised, "I have urged the Collector to provide security to prevent any miscreant from vandalising the statue and causing a law and order situation."

Responding to queries, Cruz mentioned that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who was out of state, is expected to take stock of the situation and address the incidents in Areal village upon his expected return on Thursday.

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