Conscious citizens on Wednesday staged a peaceful ‘satyagraha’ at the Se Cathedral site in Old Goa demanding action against an illegal structure that has come up in the vicinity of the cathedral which is a world heritage site.
Interestingly, the timing of the sit-in protest assumed significance as the basilica opposite the cathedral is hosting novenas of St Francis Xavier, the Patron Saint of Goa, that began on Wednesday.
Speaking to this daily, citizens including Anthony Silva, Anna Gracias and others stated that “today a Christian church site is targeted, tomorrow it will be a temple and masjid too and, taking advantage of this, people in future will demand space for construction of structures at such sites.”
“This structure (in question) has come up in a ‘no construction zone’; the construction has been done by committing a fraud and even law could not help us to protect the area despite knocking the court’s door. We are not worried about the present situation; we are looking at the future. If this happens today in such a protected area, this will set a wrong precedent and somebody else may come and repeat the same thing using this as a reference,” they expressed.
“Unless the illegal structure within the heritage and protected area is demolished people will not get a strong message,” they said.
“We are demanding demolition of the structure and revocation of all the permissions granted to the party through fraudulent means as people’s sentiments are attached to the heritage site and it is also a sensitive issue,” they stated.
“We have exhausted all legal means, so we are now relying on prayers and ‘satyagraha’ and will be observing the satyagraha till we get our demand fulfilled,” they stressed.