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Goa says no ban on Christian preachers, opposition wants probe
Thursday February 5, 2015 8:22 PM, IANS

No instruction was issued to write any notice banning Christian preachers from entering a primary health centre in Goa, a top health department official said Thursday, even as the opposition demanded that heads should roll for first putting up a notice and then hastily withdrawing it without clarification.

A notice was found nailed earlier this week on the wall of the primary health centre in Aldona village. It banned Christian preachers from entering the centre.

Health authorities were later forced to 'withdraw' the notice after its pictures went viral on the social media.

When contacted over the issue, Director of Health Services Sanjiv Dalvi said: "We have not issued instructions to anyone to write (any) notice. I am busy right now."

The notice signed by Maria M.O. Sequeira, a health officer working at the primary health centre in Aldona, 20 km from Panaji, accused Christian preachers of "luring the innocent patients with financial help".

The incident comes in the wake of controversies over religious re-conversion across the country and vandalism of churches in Delhi.

The text of the notice, which was accompanied by a memo of the directorate of health services, read: "The public is hereby informed that the Christian preachers are hereby prohibited from entering the hospital premises and luring innocent patients with financial help. It is a punishable offence and liable for further action."

The notice had been nailed on the wall of the health centre since December 2014 and went viral only earlier this month.

Around 26 percent of Goa's population of about 1.5 million follows the Roman Catholic faith, while non-Catholic Christians are a minority community.

The opposition Nationalist Congress Party Thursday demanded that heads should roll in the BJP government's health department, for first putting up a notice and then hastily withdrawing it without clarification.

Addressing a press conference at the NCP state headquarters, vice president Trajano D'Mello said the notice which said Christian preachers lured patients with money was "anti-secular".

"Heads should roll in the health ministry for first conceiving this mysterious notice and then taking it off without clarification," D'Mello said.

D'Mello asked state Health Minister Francis D'Souza to clarify why the circular was issued and withdrawn without explanation.

"The matter should be probed," D'Mello said.

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