OLD GOA: Three youth were arrested on charges of vandalising nine crosses and removing nine skulls at the cemetery of Our Lady of Piety Church, Premeiro Ward in Goltim-Navelim at Divar Island.
Mindful that the incident could stoke tension, an Old Goa police team led by SDPO Bicholim Gajanan Prabhudesai acted swiftly and arrested
Terenz Gonsalves (19), Jeffry D’Costa (18) and a minor boy, all from Divar in connection with the crime.
In a complaint, Cajetan Silveira of Golti Xim told Old Goa Police that the accused had uprooted the nine crosses in the graveyard sometime between Thursday night and early Friday morning, to stoke religious sentiments in the village.
The vandals also pulled out nine skulls from the well in the cemetery and placed six of them in front of Silveira’s house, two near the post office and one at the entrance of the park near the graveyard.
The incident evoked sharp condemnation from residents as well as from Our Lady of Piety Church Parish Priest Fr Anil Kumar, Goltim-Navelim Sarpanch Prasad Harmalkar and Cumbarjua MLA Pandurang Madkaikar.
According to SDPO Gajanan Prabhudesai, it was revealed during investigations that some boys were moving in a suspicious manner at night. Police rounded up the three youth who later confessed to the crime.
The youth also admitted that on a few earlier occasions, the complainant had scolded Terenz for moving during odd hours, misbehaving in the village and for smoking and consuming alcohol at isolated places in the village.
Lauding the Old Goa police for cracking the case within hours of the crime, North Goa Superintendent of Police Vijay Singh -- who had visited the site and had interacted with the complainant and villagers -- has declared a reward for the police staff.