Goa priest offers apology for hate-speech

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 16, 2019 23:20 hrs

Panaji, April 16 (IANS) The Goa Catholic priest, whose video of a hate-speech during a sermon against the BJP went viral, has "offered an unconditional apology" to the state administration, South Goa Collector Ajit Roy has said.

Roy, who is also a Returning Officer for the South Goa Lok Sabha seat, urged religious, political leaders of all hues to avoid aggressive speeches and not use religious places for election canvassing.

"As the priest has tendered an an unconditional apology, the apology is accepted and has been strongly warned not to repeat such things in future and has been advised to confine himself to priestly duties as per customs and traditions, failing which strict action will be taken as per law," Roy said in a statement issued here.

In an appeal to "religious leaders, sects priests, community leaders, heads of associations, leaders of political parties, candidates", Roy also urged them to refrain from making any hate speech or communally sensitive statements "or using any place of religious worship like mosques, temples, churches, etc, as a forum for election propaganda".

The official also said the model code of conduct mandates that there shall be no appeal to caste or communal sentiments for securing votes.

"Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda," the statement also said.

On Saturday, two viral videos featuring Fr. Conceicao D'Silva, in which he referred to BJP national president Amit Shah as a "demon" and attributed the cause of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's affliction of cancer to "wrath of God" went viral in the national media, attracting uniform condemnation.

The BJP on Sunday, filed a complaint with the Election Commission, calling the videos, which are extremely critical of the BJP, as example of "hate-speech", after which poll authority had directed the South Goa district administration to conduct a probe into the matter.