Congress files complaint against BJP spokesman, MLA for inciting hostility

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PANAJI: Congress party on Thursday filed a police complaint against BJP Goa spokesman Giriraj Pai Vernekar and Mormugao MLA Sankalp Amonkar for inciting hostility towards Catholic priests in the state.

Hours after Vernekar and Amonkar addressed a press conference claiming that
Catholic priests worked against BJP’s official candidate in South Goa, resulting in her defeat in Lok Sabha election, the complaint was filed by Chodankar.

In a police complaint filed at Margao police station in South Goa, Chodankar has said that their recent statements incites hostility towards Catholic priests.

Chodankar has pointed out to the press conference broadcasted on local television and social media in which Vernekar and Amonkar has accused Catholic priests of polarizing the people of Salcete, attributing this as the reason for the BJP’s loss in the South Goa parliamentary constituency.

“It is important to note that the BJP is currently in power both at the center and the state level, and therefore has access to government machinery including the CID and election officers, who are responsible for taking action against any violations of the model code of conduct during election campaigns,” he said.

Chodankar said that if there had been any attempt to polarize the voters, the BJP would not have remained silent. “It is evident that Vernekar is trying to find a scapegoat for his party’s poor performance and has unjustly targeted religious leaders,” he said.

The former Goa Congress chief said that such statements of frustration post-election can lead to communal division, tension, and potentially even violence between communities.

“Vernekar’s and Amonkar’s accusations have the capacity to incite right wing groups to target religious leaders, which could escalate into a situation akin to the unrest seen in Manipur,” he said.

Chodankar has said that the complaint be filed against both the accused under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), and any other relevant clauses of the IPC or any law in force.

“It is crucial to send a clear message that such incitement will not be tolerated, especially after a lengthy election cycle where people desire to set aside their differences, live in peace, and work together for the development of our state,” he said.

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