‘Guardian Angel’ rescues Curchorem Parishioners – reveals clue to Vandalism, laying to rest a week of communal tension in Goa. The perpetrator was none other than Francisco Pereira a resident of the village. A man who served a 3-year jail term for shooting a youth from Khamamol, Curchorem in the year 2000. Earning a living by illegally operating his Maruti Van as a tourist taxi. Pereira has been involved in vandalising niches, granite crosses, tombstones, and graves at the Guardian Angel Church cemetery of his own village of Curchorem, South Goa. The police said that Pereira has also been involved in desecrations of more than 150 religious structures in the last 14 years.
The Clue that led to his arrest
A piece of paper with something scribbled on it was picked up by the Goa police at the vandalised site which served as a Clue, making it easier for the Goa Police to nab him. Francisco usually operated in the wee hours of the morning or during heavy downpours to avoid being seen. To nab the desecrator, two police teams were constituted consisting of South Goa SP Arvind Gawas, PI (traffic) Ravindra Dessai and constables Avinash Naik and Vishal Bhoyar.
On the night of July 13, Francis Pereira was seen leaving Curchorem towards Margao in his Maruti Van. In the wee hours of July 14 the van was intercepted by the Curtorim police during ‘nakabandi.’ The Curtorim police, in turn, passed on the information to the Curchorem police, whose police personnel stopped the van at Curchorem, and took Pereira to that police station. Taking samples of his handwriting they let him go. On inspection, Francis’ handwriting matched the writing on the piece of paper found in the desecrated Cemetery. This made the police conclude that Francis was the culprit behind the desecrations. So, at about 3.30 am on Saturday when Francis arrived at Curchorem in his van moving towards Morialem, the police stopped his van and intercepted him.
“He has confessed of having done this for the last five years. We are trying to probe if he was behind the earlier attacks on crosses too,” said an official. When media persons questioned Pereira whether he has any grudge against holy crosses or Christianity, he said, “I have nothing against any community or religion. I have damaged roadside religious structures – be they a cross, a Tulsi vrundavan or a ghumti. I have committed these acts only to release the souls trapped in the crosses, Tulsi vrundavan, ghumtis etc,” he said. “I am ready to compensate the damages. I have enough money,” he said.
Information credit: Indian Express, Navhind Times
Video credit: Goa365