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Under flak, Goa tourism ministry cancels Rs 4 crore Spanish junket

Panaji: The Goa tourism ministry has cancelled a Rs.4 crore junket to Spain which was avowedly aimed at promoting religious tourism.

The junket, comprising tourism ministry officials and legislators, among others, was scheduled to take off next month in order to promote the feast of Francis Xavier, a Spanish Saint who brought both Christianity and the Inquisition to Goa.

In a reply to a question tabled Tuesday during the ongoing Monsoon session of the state legislative assembly, tourism minister Dilip Parulekar said there was no proposal for a trip to Spain for promotion of religious tourism.

Xavier, who hailed from Navarra, in the Basque region of Spain was sent as an Apostolic Nuncio by the Pope in 1541 at the request of the King of Portugal.

Xavier also brought the Spanish Inquisition to Goa, which saw tenets of the Christian religion imposed by force and violence on Goan subjects.

After his death in 1552 in Shanchuan, China, his body was first ferried to Malacca. In 1637, it was finally placed in the newly-built Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, built by the Jesuits.

The feast is celebrated every year Dec 3, with nearly a million believers paying a visit, some even walking hundreds of kilometres to the Church complex in Old Goa.

Catholics account for nearly 30 per cent of the state's population of 1.4 million.

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