GOA Culture Minister Govind Gaude has initiated a probe following allegations of a ritual indicating purification on the premises of Kala Academy, where the body of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was kept on the day of the funeral.
"I have taken strong note of some activities carried out in Kala Academy premises as rituals today. I have ordered an inquiry into it. We cannot promote or patronise unscientific activities inside government buildings," tweeted Gaude on Saturday.
When contacted, he said he had asked for a report. "Kala Academy does not allow for such rituals. Further, no permissions or letters were sought before doing this. The academy or the ministry hasn't issued a single penny for any such ceremony. I am hearing the word 'shuddhikaran' (purification) but I cannot comment yet. It could be shanti karan or shuddhikaran, but we need to first probe," he said.
The initial probe found that three staffers wanted to do a "chanting of Om ceremony", he added.
Gurudas Pilernekar, member secretary of Kala Academy who participated in the ceremony, said he was not aware of the details. "These were Brahmin men who are staffers in our academy. When I entered in the morning I saw these staffers performing a ritual. They asked me to participate without saying anything more than Om. I have asked the three staffers to explain it," he said.
On the day of the funeral, Parrikar's body was kept at Kala Academy for state honours. The reports of "shuddhikaran", which went viral on social media in Goa, were first tweeted by a local resident. Soon, a video of the ceremony emerged, prompting Gaude to issue a statement on Twitter.