Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Shivaji statue row: Areal villagers invoke Almighty in candlelit rally, pray for peace

Shivaji statue row: Areal villagers invoke Almighty in candlelit rally, pray for peace

Sao Jose de Areal villagers on Thursday took out a candle light procession in the village to pray for peace and for the peaceful resolution of the issue arising out of the installation of the statue of Maratha Warrior Shivaji Maharaj at an isolated property earlier this week.

Priests and nuns, besides the villagers and local Velim MLA Cruz Silva took part in the procession at the Padribhat ground on Thursday evening. Public spirited citizens and activists from other parts of the State also joined in the procession to extend solidarity with the villagers for the peaceful resolution of the issue.

The participants invoked blessings of the Almighty seeking peace in the village. They offered prayers to the Almighty to bring peace and harmony amongst all sections of the society.

In his brief address, Areal Parish Priest Fr Damacian Carvalho said the candle light procession has been called to show that the villagers of Areal are messengers of peace. “God has given us this big opportunity to come together to show we are messengers of peace. We can do some things in a peaceful manner. God has given us so many beautiful things, flora and fauna and the entire universe. Let us spend some time in prayer for peace,” he said.

Addressing the people, social activist Freddy Travasso, who was injured in the incident on February 19 during the installation of the statue that the villagers have no intention to hurt anyone. “Our village is peaceful and whatever we have done has been carried out in a peaceful manner,” he said.

Referring to the cases foisted on the 20 villagers in connection with the February 19 incident, Freddy made a plea to the government and the police not to file false cases against the villagers, even as he called for withdrawal of the cases.

He added: We want to live peacefully in our village. Give us the right to live peacefully. The entire world has seen what has happened on February. There have been some negative comments directed against the Christian community, Today, we can see members of all communities, Hindus, Christians and Muslims have come to participate in the peaceful rally”.

Velim MLA Cruz Silva said what has happened is bad, but the villagers have maintained peace in the village. “This candle light rally is not against any person or persons, but has been taken out to pray for peace so that people live in peace. People have prayed for peace in the village so that the issue is resolved peacefully and the cases registered against the villagers are withdrawn,” Cruz said.

Villager and activist Peter Viegas said the villagers had called for the candle light procession to pray for peace since peace in the village has been vitiated and disturbed by the disturbing incidents earlier this week.

“We have prayed today so that no one tries to spoil peace in our village and Goa in general. And, that the government should not protect those vitiating peace,” he said.

On the FIR registered against the villagers, Peter said the villagers will approach the government for the withdrawal of the cases. “In Goa, peace is being vitiated because the government machinery, including the police and administration, besides some Ministers are working to disturb peace. They are treading the wrong path for political reasons. We have offered prayers for peace since we do believe in violence,” he added.

Former MLA Benjamin D’Silva, former ZP member Moreno Rebello, district Congress Chief Savio D’Silva,  social activists Pratima Coutinho, Anthony D’Silva, Sabita Mascarenhas, Savio Coutinho, Areal Sarpanch Linda Fernandes, deputy Sarpanch Valente Fernandes, Guirdolim Sarpanch Sonia Fernandes and hundreds of villagers participated in the candle light procession.

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