Bangalore, India, Aug 9, 2023 / 12:35 pm
A Catholic priest in the Indian state of Goa was granted “anticipatory bail” Aug. 8 after police registered a criminal case against him for allegedly “hurting Hindu sentiments” in remarks he made about a Hindu king during a Sunday Mass in July.
Hindu groups had staged demonstrations in front of the police station calling for criminal charges to be brought against Father Bolmax Pereira, parish priest of St. Francis Xavier Church in Chicalim in the Archdiocese of Goa.
Pereira was quoted in the Mass posted on YouTube saying that 17th-century Hindu king Chatrapati Shivaji “was a national hero but not a god.”
“There are a few people for whom Shivaji has become a god … Yes, he is a national hero. We have to honor and respect him. What he has done, the battles he fought to protect his people … for all that he deserves respect. He is a hero, but not a god. … We have to have a dialogue with our Hindu brethren and ask them ‘Is Shivaji your God? Or a national hero?’ If he is a national hero, let it be at that. Don’t make him a god. We need to understand their perspective. If we live in fear, we will not be able to rise again,” the Indian Express quoted Pereira’s homily Aug. 5 after police filed a criminal case against him.