Incidents of sexual molestations and offences against women in Indian Churches are suddenly on an increase. In separate incidents, two women have accused a senior priest at Goa’s Mangueshi temple of sexually molesting them when they were visiting the temple with their parents last month.
While they have written letters to the temple committee urging measures, no actions have been taken against the accused as of yet.
While recalling her ordeal, one of the victims says that she was visiting the Mangueshi temple with her parents and was asked to sit right outside the innermost sanctum of the temple when the incident took place.
When waiting, she was approached by the accused who put his hand around her shoulders and proceeded to tightly hug her. He even tried to forcibly kiss me, the victim said in her letter.
The victim claims to have told her parents about the incident following which the accused’s brother, another priest, apologised for his actions fearing legal action.
“Priests are never to touch a woman devotee at any point in time. Even while giving flowers and blessings, priests make it a point not to touch any part of the woman’s body,” said the victim in her letter while urging temple authorities to examine CCTV evidence from the day of the incident and bring the accused to justice.
In the second case, another victim, a student, wrote to the temple committee asking them to take appropriate action against the accused priest.
In her letter, the victim says that she was visiting the Mangueshi temple with her parents on June 14 of this year when the incident took place.
Recalling her ordeal, the victim says that she was approached by senior priest Dhananjay Bhave when she was waiting for her parents to complete a ritual. He allegedly hugged her tight and attempted to kiss her, even managing to kiss her on the cheek before she could let go of his grip.
“I don’t think this man should be anywhere near the temple. He belongs behind bars! I don’t know how many girls he must have molested,” writes the victim while requesting the Mangueshi temple committee to sack the accused priest.
However, no FIR has been filed in this regard as of yet. As per latest reports, the temple trust in a letter has shown an unwillingness to conduct any inquiry or take action even after both women sent letters to the committee. >