Indian Catholic News

Protesters demand security during Xavier feast

The protesters held a token protest and shouted slogans on October 2 demanding the change of schedule of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which is coinciding with the feast day.

 

Over 100 parishioners in Old Goa are protesting against the state’s negligence to provide adequate security for the pilgrims during the world-renowned feast of Saint Francis Xavier at the shrine of Bom Jesus, where his body is kept.

The protesters held a token protest and shouted slogans on October 2 demanding the change of schedule of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which is coinciding with the feast day.

“Since 2004, we have been asking the government to shift the dates of IFFI because security during those days is diluted as a part of it is deployed there, reducing the security during the novenas and the feast day on December 3,” said Peter Viegas, coordinator of the Save Old Goa Action Committee (SOGAC).

“The government has not only ignored our repeated pleas but this year extended IFFI till the feast day,” he said.

Earlier, IFFI used to conclude on December 2.

Viegas said that though authorities provide metal detectors installed at the entry points of the Basilica compound, there’s no security at the large fair, making the venue a sitting duck for terrorists.

He said the fair venue is a potential ground for deaths in the event of a stampede.

SOGAC Secretary John Carvalho said, “the government is ready to squander so much money for a two-week IFFI, that is attended by less than 10,000 delegates but shows its carelessness for millions of people visiting Old Goa during the feast and novenas.”

Tourists flock the pilgrimage centre around the year and the government earns money from tourism, unlike IFFI, Carvalho said.

He lamented that the government had failed to come forth with a master plan for Old Goa despite assurance by the state government last year.

Source: cathnewsindia.com

Top Stories