Hindu organisations stage rally against Jesus statue in Karnataka town

Bengaluru, Jan 13 (IANS) A  rally was held on Monday by members of Hindu organisations in Karnataka’s Kanakapura town against the construction of a Jesus Christ statue at a village on a government land that senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar allegedly gifted to a church, a BJP leader said.

“About 1,000 members of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike, RSS, Bajrang and our party staged the rally to protest against the Jesus statue on a government land, which Shivakumar had no right to gift to a local church,” BJP spokesman G. Madhusudhana told IANS here.

Kanakapura, about 40km southwest of Bengaluru towards Mysuru, is the assembly constituency of Shivakumar and a part of the Lok Sabha constituency of his brother D.K. Suresh Kumar of the Congress.

“Without the state government’s consent, Shivakumar gifted the 10-acre land, meant for grazing, on December 25 to a church trust for constructing a 100-ft Jesus statue on a 13-ft pedestal in the nearby Herobele village,” said Madhusudhana.

State Revenue Minister R. Ashoka transferred Kanakapura tahisildar Anandaiah on December 30 for facilitating the land transfer to the church trust without Deputy Commissioner’s approval.

“Shivakumar is trying to please his party leader Sonia Gandhi for being appointed as the next Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president since its incumbent Dinesh Gundu Rao resigned on December 9 following party’s debacle in the by-elections to 15 assembly seats, in which only two of its 15 candidates won,” said Madhusudhana.

The right-wing organsiations are against the statue in the village which is on the foothills of Kapali betta (hill), which is considered sacred by the Hindus, as god Kapali is said to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

“The statue project has been put on hold pending inquiry, as several local Hindu organisations raised objections as it was to come up near the sacred hill considered holy,” said Madhusudhana.

The greens also opposed granting a part of the 230-acre grazing land to the trust, as it is against a revised notification the state government issued in 2007 to prevent encroachment.

Defending his gesture to gift the land for building the statue, Shivakumar told reporters that the previous JD-S-Congress government had granted him the land for development activities as he was the legislator from the local area.

“I have gifted similar lands to Hindu organisations also in the past for building temples, community halls, schools and hospitals, as I believe in equality of all religions,” said Shivakumar.