The shoddy and biased way in which the whole investigation into the murder of Fr. Bismarque Dias has been conducted is a textbook case of how to ‘stitch up’ the evidence to produce a pre-planned ‘verdict’ by devious sleight-of-hand.

First we were asked to believe that Fr. Bismarque consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, and then ‘entered the water’ for the ‘first’ time and the ‘second’ time, all of these ‘times’ determined solely on the testimony of the ‘boys’ who allegedly were with Fr. Bismarque and ought to have been regarded as prime suspects or accomplices to murder but for inexplicable reasons haven’t. But this is passed off as fact, in particular by a section of the press and television that quite conveniently is owned by people with interests in real estate and mining, two industries that Fr. Bismarque strongly opposed when they broke the law and harmed the environment.

Then, when the alcohol intoxication myth was dispelled by forensic evidence from the viscera study, we were, against all logic, asked to believe that the absence of alcohol actually proved the absence of foul play. How exactly it did this, could never be explained, not in any logical manner.

In fact, all those empty bottles ought to have tipped the police off that there were many others involved in the death of Fr. Bismarque. If he didn’t consume the alcohol, it must have been consumed by others who should at the very least be brought in and interrogated. We have seen no attempt by the police to look into this angle at all. 

And now, the latest conjuror’s trick is the diatom test, the magic wand that seems to prove beyond doubt (as all the papers gleefully proclaim on their front pages) that there was “no foul play”. How exactly? All it proves is that Fr. Bismarque met his end where he was found. It cannot tell us anything more than this.

All circumstantial evidence, including the blood-stained patch of earth by the water body where it is almost certain Fr. Bismarque was beaten and tortured, the finger-printing of the bottle caps and other material evidence at the site, all have been deliberately botched. The eye-witnessed injuries on the body of Fr. Bismarque have been discounted, and very little can be done now about this, as time will have taken its inexorable course on these findings. And now, in the absence of all of these, we are left with one measly diatom test and efforts will be made to close the case on the ‘strength’ of this alone.

Fr .Bismarque had filed a police complaint that he had received death threats from some people, just a day or two before he met his tragic end. Why have these people not even been rounded up and interrogated? What about all the others that Fr. Bismarque had opposed over the years, politicians, builders, mine-owners, all of whom would have had a very strong motive? Why haven’t they been called in for questioning?

Those of us who knew Fr. Bismarque knew that he had not left the church of his own volition, but had been asked to leave. He said this explicitly to me more than once. Why are we now being asked to believe that he ‘voluntarily’ left the church when he didn’t? There is a taped record of a telephone interview where he clearly admits that he did not want to leave the priesthood. 

How is one supposed to have justice if there are forces at work that can manipulate all the institutions that are meant to be unbiased and impartial?  

The murder of Fr. Bismarque, and the woeful spineless handling of the investigation into his death will go down as a black patch in Goa’s history. The people of Goa are angry, upset, disappointed and depressed in every possible way by this gross miscarriage of justice.