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Right-wing Groups Protest Against Proposed Christ Statue in K'taka, Accuse DK Shivakumar of 'Appeasement Politics'

Hundreds of people clad with saffron scarf took part in a march organised by 'Hindu Jagaran Vedike' against the proposed 114 feet Jesus Christ statue that is set to come up near Bengaluru.

Revathi Rajeevan | CNN-News18

Updated:January 13, 2020, 7:52 PM IST
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Right-wing Groups Protest Against Proposed Christ Statue in K'taka, Accuse DK Shivakumar of 'Appeasement Politics'
Congress leader DK Shivakumar standing in front of the model statue of Jesus Christ, based on which the actual statue will be built.

Bengaluru: Days after Congress leader DK Shivakumar laid the foundation stone for the carving of a 114 feet statue of Jesus Christ statue in his constituency Kanakapura, hundreds of protestors held a rally accusing the MLA of appeasement politics.

The demonstrators clad with saffron scarf took part in "Kanakapura chalo", organised by 'Hindu Jagaran Vedike', holding saffron flags in their hand marched from Aiyappa swamy temple at Kanakapura to Tahsildar office, shouting slogans "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Jai Sri Ram."

BJP leader and former Minister C P Yogeshwar, who took part in the protest, accused Shivakumar of trying to instigate communal violence for his "politics."

Hindutva ideologue and RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, who led the rally, raised an issue with the land where the statue is being built. "That land belongs to Muneshwara. A Muneshwara temple will be built at the site," Bhat said alleging that en masse conversions were taking place in the region.

"The land where lakhs of churches and mosques are built in this country all belongs to us. It is Hindu land and it belongs to Hindus," he added.

Bhat also took potshots at Shivakumar when he said, “...what is your intention? You want to sell this country to foreigners once again; Hindu community is warning you...this is also an act of treason."

In the inflammatory speech, he also accused Mother Teresa of religious conversions and mocked Christianity and Islam for monotheism.

The proposed statue atop a 13-foot pedestal is coming up at Kapalibetta in Harobele village, a predominantly Christian locality in Kanakapura.

Land for the proposed statue was allotted by then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

On December 25, Shivakumar had laid the foundation at a prayer meet and handed over the title deed for the project. Controversy erupted soon after as BJP leaders alleged that the land, which was originally grazing land, was illegally allotted and claimed that it belonged to Hindus.

"It is kapali betta (Kapali hills). Kapali means Shiva. So a Jesus Christ statue cannot come up there," said BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje.

The ruling BJP government under CM BS Yediyurappa also termed the proposed statue as an appeasement policy and sought a report from authorities on the status of the land earmarked for the project.

Revenue Minister R Ashoka had said it is not Shivakumar's property to hand it to anyone, as it is government gomala land (pasture land for community use), and had sought a report from the district administration.

"There is no issue here. This (BJP) government will also clear it in the cabinet after studying the report. Certain people hungry for power are raising these issues unnecessarily," DK Shivakumar had said in response.

The BJP’s Karnataka unit and the government under CM BS Yediyurappa has, however, distance itself from the protest. Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the matter is under scrutiny, “When it is an emotional issue, there will be people for and against. Those who identified with the sentiment, have gone for the protest.”

Meanwhile, DK Shivakumar said that the BJP government is bound to clear the construction of the statue after studying the report and blamed “power hungry” people for “unnecessarily” raising an issue.

Police had made elaborate security arrangements to prevent any untoward incidents

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