Activists name Catholic priest as nominee for polls

January 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Church, Goa, India, newsletter-india

PollGoa, January 11, 2012: A Catholic priest has been named by public groups to contest Goa Assembly elections scheduled for March 3.

Blessed Sacrament Father Bismarque Dias, who has been leading protests against illegal mining, a land-use plan and other issues concerning the western state, was named Tuesday as a candidate by Zagrut Goenkarancho Ekvott (ZGE, Vigilant Goans’ Collective).

This is an umbrella organization reportedly having the support of some 160 village groups.

Fr Dias has been selected for the Cumbarjua constituency near Old Goa.

The priest, who addressed a press conference in Panaji, the state capital, told reporters that he was “legally” bound to seek permission from the Archbishop to contest the elections.

However, he added that his role was beyond being just a priest and that he was committed to social justice.

Citing the parable of the Good Samaritan, he said he was entering the political arena to tend the ailing land, trees and children of the state.

Fr Francis Caldeira, spokesman of the Goa Archdiocese, said Fr Dias was not a diocesan priest and that “he will have to follow the required procedure with the approval from his superior.”

This is the first time in the state’s election history that a priest is scheduled to contest the polls.

– ucan

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