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Destruction of idol may not be a crime

October 3, 2021 12:40 pm

According to a legal expert the destruction of a sacred deity at a home in Wairabetia, Lautoka last week may not be a crime.

The matter has created a lot of debate on whether the Pastor who was involved in the incident can be taken to task under the law.

Krishna & Company Lawyers Senior Associate, Shirani Sonika says their legal interpretation is his actions must meet the elements of Section 305 subsection C of the Crimes Act which deals with sacrilege.

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Sonika believes the incident does not warrant a charge because there was no deliberate intent to cause any disrespect to Hindus.

“He did not have the intention to disrespect that he was basically going ahead with consent, his only intentions were to get rid of that statue. In this instance I would presume that he did not have any intentional disrespect; he was just going to do his job and get the statue out of the property.”

She stresses that certain factors must also be taken into account such as the place of worship being on private property.

Barrister Abhay Singh says while the Pastor could still be charged, prosecutors would have to prove that his action had ulterior motives.

“One of the ingredients is with intention and then you go there with intention of disrespecting a person’s religion so investigations can be done and it’s very likely the person can be charged.”

The family maintains that proper rituals were followed before they decided to remove the idol, and this was not captured in a video that went viral.

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