A Catholic Priest, Father Bolmax Pereira, in Goa, India, was Arrested for saying that a King was not God

A Catholic priest, Father Bolmax Pereira, the parish priest of St. Francis Xavier Church in Goa, India, was arrested for saying that a king was not God. A court in India’s West coast state of Goa has postponed the hearing of an anticipatory bail application of a Catholic priest, who was accused of insulting a 17th-century Hindu king.

On August 4th, police filed a case against the priest for allegedly saying during a sermon that Shivaji Maharaj, a warrior king, was not God.

During the hearing on Aug. 7, Father Pereira sought interim relief to avoid arrest but the judge at the Margao local court denied his request. The police sought more time to file their reply leading to the adjournment.  

The priest has been accused of defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion, besides intentional insult to provoke a breach of peace.

At least two other complaints have also been filed against him in two other police stations in the state.  

Pereira has already submitted an apology, saying his statement on the king was taken "out of context and misinterpreted."

Shivaji Maharaj was the founder of the Maratha empire in western India. His defeat of Muslim contemporaries is often portrayed by India's pro-Hindu political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules in Goa, as a victory of Hindus over Muslims.

A video of the priest's sermon went viral on social media last week. It showed him saying, “Chhatrapati Shivaji cannot be considered a God.”

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said action would be taken against the priest as per law.

On Aug. 3, Father Pereira issued a statement, regretting the controversy surrounding his remark and the "misunderstanding" that arose due to it.

“The purpose and intent of making a mention of the great national hero and the valiant warrior during the sermon was to tell devotees and viewers that Shivaji Maharaj was revered by people across the country and abroad, cutting across religions, castes, creed, and languages,” he said.

Father Pereira said that he was shocked to learn that his sermon was "selectively taken out of context."

“If any individual or organization has been hurt due to this episode and misunderstanding, I express my deepest regret,” the priest said.  

On Aug. 4, hundreds of Bajrang Dal workers marched to the police station, demanding the priest’s arrest.

Goa Forward Party legislator Vijai Sardesai said that the matter should be settled as the priest has already submitted an apology.

Source: UCAN News - Image Screenshot https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isPOKYKkAn8