A priest at Shree Mangueshi temple in South Goa has been accused of allegedly molesting two women, in separate incidents, while they were on a visit to the temple along with their parents, last month.
The first case is of a medical student of Goan origin, currently studying in the USA who has complained to the management committee that the incident happened while she was on a visit to the temple on June 22 along with her parents.
The second complaint is of another Mumbai-based girl of Goan origin, who has said that she was molested inside the temple by the priest on June 14 this year, “who is our Purohit for generations, before him his Dad was our Purohit.”
She has also narrated her alleged molestation and demanded that the management committee probe the same based on evidence of the CCTV camera footage inside the premises.
Secretary of Managing committee Anil Kenkre told media that they had received the complaints and he had replied to them.
The Mangesh Temple Management Committee, in a letter to the U.S.-based victim on July 11, has expressed its inability to deal with the complaint as it could not “lay its hand on any dependable evidence to establish a prima facie case” against the priest.
In her complaint to the managing committee of the temple, which has gone viral on social media platforms, the US-based girl victim has said that she had visited the temple premises on June 22 to perform puja along with her parents, when the priest tried to “inappropriately touch” her just outside the sanctum sanctorum, while her parents were busy in pooja inside the sanctum sanctorum.
“He was also in the temple and came to the locker area (outside the sanctum and near the well) and on the pretext of asking me to take “pradakshina”, he beckoned me to come near the lockers and molested me,” the victim has said (giving details of action of the accused), in a letter to temple committee. She has said that she was “traumatised and repulsed” by the alleged disturbing behaviour of the priest.
She has demanded that as part of the investigation, the management committee must review the footage of the CCTV cameras installed in various parts of the temple including in and around that area, of June 22.
The second victim has also narrated her incident which, according to her complaint to management, happened in same area on June 14. The victim states in her complaint, “ My father was doing “abhishek and me and my Mom were about to start “pradakshina”. As we started towards the “gabhara,” the accused stopped us saying ,”don’t go together”,and asked my Mom to go first”.
She then goes on to narrate the alleged molestation incident and demands action from committee. She further says that they failed to get any response from the management of the temple to her complaint.
Kenkre stated that he, on behalf of the temple committee, had replied to both the alleged victim girls by emails.
Kenkre said, “I have responded to both the complaints by mails after taking cognisance of the complaints and trying to investigate the matter. However, we could not get any dependable evidence in both the cases to establish prima facie case and as such wrote to them to approach appropriate authority.”