Panaji, Nov 24 The Church in Goa Thursday accused the Congress-led governments in New Delhi and Goa of being insensitive to local sentiments and “foisting” a film festival on a state heading to the biggest event in its socio-religious calendar, the feast of Spanish saint Francis Xavier.
The Church was “appalled” by the “evasive” responses by union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on the rescheduling of dates for the 11-day International Film Festival of India (IFFI) so it does not clash with the novenas of St Francis Xavier, said Fr Francisco Caldeira, spokesperson for Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.
“The Church in Goa takes strong exception to its scheduling concomitantly with the novena and feast of St Francis Xavier at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa…This is not an event that was foisted upon people, but evolved from the respects being paid to him by people of all hues down the ages,” Caldeira said.
Caldeira said the organisation of IFFI had led to a “virtual collapse of logistics so much needed to organise the devotees, attending the religious services”, and constant requests by the Church to the authorities had “fallen on deaf ears”.
“Adding insult to injury is the evasive and ambiguous response of the powers-that-be to the recent intervention of a delegation of priests submitting a memorandum to our honourable chief minister Digambar Kamat and honourable Minister for Information and Broadcasting Amibkla Soni. All this appalls us,” Caldeira said.
“We forcefully appeal to the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) and the FIlm Federation of India (FFI) to ensure that in keeping with the sensibilities of the host state, the IFFI does not coincide henceforth next year,” Caldeira said.
The 42nd IFFI is scheduled from Nov 23 to Dec 3, virtually overlapping with the novenas, which begin from Nov 24 and stretch right up to Dec 3, the day of the feast, an event which attracts lakhs of pilgrims, across religions from all across the world.