The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Goa has ordered a probe into a viral video which shows a Catholic priest attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), accusing it of being an anti-minority party and saying that late Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar suffered from pancreatic cancer as a "wrath of God".
A spokesperson for the CEO said that the South Goa District Magistrate, who is also the Returning Officer, has been directed to probe the video. "The South Goa District Magistrate has been ordered to probe whether the contents of the speech violate the model code of conduct," the spokesperson said.
In the undated video, Father Conceicao D'Silva is seen criticising the BJP, party president Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parrikar.
The priest also spoke about coal dust pollution in the port town of Vasco da Gama, 35 km from Panaji. "It (coal dust) is all over, in the food, water, houses. People protested, held morchas and meetings but Parrikar did not pay heed. His pockets were filled. Therefore God gave him cancer," he alleged.
He also said, "Parrikar had even tried to take away school holidays. And he died in suffering. Pancreatic cancer is the worst cancer. Those who cross the path of God are invariably punished."
D'Silva also accused the BJP of harassing the minorities and urged his parishioners not to vote for the party.
Earlier on Sunday, the BJP wrote to the Election Commission (EC), demanding a probe into the controversial sermon delivered by the parish priest.
"The said video clip depicts a priest addressing the people within a religious institution, and creating an atmosphere of hate and fear against a particular political party and a specific religion," BJP Panaji Mandal General Secretary, Vishnu Naik said in the complaint to the CEO.
The letter by the BJP said, "This matter needs a thorough investigation and the said priest must be booked for spreading hatred and destabilising religious harmony."
When asked about the matter, Secretary to Archbishop, Fr. Loiola Pereira said, "I am aware of the video and the Bishop's House has been informed about it."
(With inputs from agencies)