Horrible Inhuman Catholic Inquisition of Our Beloved Goa on innocent Hindu forefathers in 16th, 17th & 18th centuries.
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A set of images doing rounds online, especially on social networking sites, claim to depict the horrible ways in which Hindus in Goa (India) were tortured by Catholic Inquisition in 16th, 17th & 18th centuries. The story is a fact with some missing information. Not just the Hindus, the Portuguese Catholics actually tortured Goa people – the Hindus, Muslims and other non-believers in that era. It is an unfortunate historical fact not many know, and is usually referred to as Goa Inquisition.
About the Goa Inquisition
The Inquisition is a group of institutions within the judicial system of the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. The infamous missionary Francis Xavier demanded the setting up of the religious tribunal Goa Inquisition to suppress heresy and punish heretics, and it happened in 1560. Once the Portuguese had established themselves in power in Goa, they used the Inquisition to ensure the indigenous people adhered to Portuguese religious beliefs. Their aim was to preserve the Catholic faith, but the Inquisition was used as an instrument of social control against Indian Catholics and Hindus, and it was also a method of confiscating property and enriching the Inquisitors.
The Torture on Hindus and other Non-believers
During 16th, 17th & 18th centuries, the Catholic Inquisition in Goa forced Hindus and Muslims to accept Christian faith, and punished them if they followed their native religious practices secretly. In that time period, some tens of thousands of people in Goa (mostly Hindus) were brought to trial by the Inquisition, some were sentenced to death, and some burned in effigy. Many were tortured in special Inquisition prisons – strangled, stretched out on the rack, and even children’s limbs were cut off in front of their parents whose eyes were taped open till they agreed to convert. In the following years, as the Christian missionaries arrived, there came the mandate in 1541 that all Hindu temples be closed, and by 1559 over 350 temples were destroyed, and private idol worship was also banned.
Not many people today are aware of these horrible incidents that happened in history because most of the Goa Inquisition’s records were destroyed after its abolition in 1812. And ironically, before the disturbing incidents in Goa, the dreaded Inquisition already left its bloody footprint in Spain, where it was established in 1478 and was later abolished in 1834. In his novel ‘Guardian of the Dawn,’ award winning American-Portuguese author Richard Zimler documented the little-known Portuguese Inquisition in India in 16th century Goa. He described the incidents from 1560 all the way to 1812 as merciless religious persecution and called the Goa Inquisition as the “machinery of death”. Richard Zimler also mentioned that historians consider the Goa Inquisition the most merciless and cruel one ever developed.
Hoax or Fact:
Fact with Some Missing Information.