Right-wing rage in Kanakapura over Jesus statue

Right-wing rage in Kanakapura over Jesus statue

Hilltop row

Hindu Jagarana Vedike members take out a rally in Kanakapura on Monday. DH Photo/Janardhan B K

Chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ rent the air as the Hindu Jagaran Vedike took out a rally in Kanakapura on Monday against the installation of a Jesus Christ statue atop a hill. 

The BJP and pro-Hindutva groups have taken objection to the statue, proposed to be installed atop Kapala Betta near Harobele in Kanakapura taluk, alleging that there were attempts to convert locals to Christianity. 

Hundreds from the outfit gathered near the Ayyappa temple in Kanakapura, waving saffron flags. The rally piqued the curiosity of locals who stationed themselves on building terraces and by the roadside, while shopkeepers downed shutters as a precaution. 

The stage was set for firebrand RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat to address the gathering opposite the Tahsildar office. He received a rousing reception; one supporter blew a conch to welcome their leader. 

Bhat alleged that the hill, originally ‘Muneshwara Hill’, was being appropriated with ulterior motives by Christian missionaries and the same was being encouraged by Congress leader D K Shivakumar. “We demand a Muneshwara temple there,” Bhat said.

The saffron show was the Sangh Parivar’s attempt to build a base for itself in the Ramanagara district, especially in Kanakapura that has been Shivakumar’s fort.

Last Christmas, Shivakumar handed over the title of a 10-acre land to a private trust that is constructing the Christ statue near Kapala Betta in Harobele village, where the population is predominantly Christian. The proposed statue will be 101-foot tall, standing on a 13-foot pedestal. Shivakumar purchased the land with his own money.

“Why didn’t Shivakumar think of installing the statue of Balagangadhara Swamy, the Buddha or even Mahatma Gandhi for that matter,” Bhat asked, alleging that there were attempts to convert locals to Christianity.

“We don’t have a problem with people worshipping Allah or Jesus. But we have a problem with the appropriation of Hindu religion.” 

The statue is coming up on Gomala land and an approach road is being built without permission, he said.

Bhat said the rally was just the beginning and more protests would follow if the plan to install the statue was not dropped. “If you mistake our generosity, it will take a violent turn,” Bhat warned. 

He further stated that the stir was the beginning of the downfall of Shivakumar’s family and his political career. He also cited former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajashekar Reddy’s example. “He allotted houses to Christians in Tirupati, the territory of Lord Venkateshwara. He also issued the contract for making temple laddoos to a Christian. Look at what fate he suffered!” Reddy died in a helicopter crash. 

Bhat, who later visited the hill, alleged that stone slabs from the Muneshwara temple were used to build a Jesus shrine on the hilltop.

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