Stop Christ statue project or face stir, warns Sangh Parivar
TENSIONS MOUNT BJP Govt Faces Challenges On Multiple Fronts After Threat By Right-Wing Groups And Impatient Cabinet Hopefuls
The Sangh Parivar on Monday demanded the state government reverse its decision of allotting land for the proposed 114-foot-tall Jesus Christ statue at Kapalabetta in Kanakapura taluk by January 25 or face further protests.
On Monday, hundreds of Hindu Jagaran Vedike workers took part in the Kanakapura Chalo march amid heavy police deployment. They went from the Aiyappa
Swamy Temple to the tahsildar office in Kanakapura and submitted a memorandum to the government.
After the march and speeches by right-wing ideologues like Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, the parivar passed a resolution: “If you (state government) don’t act by January 25, we will step up our protest and won’t stop till we succeed.” The resolution also sought stopping of ongoing work at Kapalabetta, booking cases against officials responsible for allowing construction before land was allotted to the trust and enacting a strong anti-conversion law.
HJV members chanted slogans like ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ ‘Jai Sriram’ and ‘Rakta Kottevu, Kapalabetta Kodalla’ (we’ll give our blood, but not Kapalabetta) along the 1-km march. The HJV said if the government doesn’t meet its demand, it’ll review its strategy at Kolar on January 26.
On December 25, local MLA and Congress politician DK Shivakumar had symbolically laid the foundation for the statue on December 25. “They have the right to protest and criticise, but the comments should have been more civilised,” said S Chinnaraju, member, Kapalabetta Development Trust.
India is land of Krishna, not Christ, says Bhat
Addressing the rally, Bhat said his fight was not against Jesus Christ, but against forceful religious conversions in his name. “Let me remind Shivakumar, it (India) is a land of Krishna and not Christ and we will not allow the Christ statue to be erected on Kapalabetta,” he said.
He accused Shivakumar of politics for ‘votes and notes’. “What is your intention? You want to sell the country once again to foreigners? We’re warning you — we’ll drown you in the Arkavathy reservoir (near Kapalabetta),” he said.
Bhat said: “Do not mistake the magnanimity of Hindus as their weakness. The community is now awakened and will not tolerate oppression any more. Shivakumar must understand that it’s time to take statues of Basavanna, Rama and Kalabhairaveshwara abroad and not bring Christ to India.”
Praising Prime Minister Modi, he said: “Yesterday, we celebrated Vivekananda Jayanti and we remember that one speech of his. It appears Vivekananda has come back in the form of Modi." He also praised Mangaluru police commissioner PS Harsha for dealing with rioters with an iron fist. "Some people are criticising police, but if they had not acted in that manner, the situation would have gone out of control.”
In Bengaluru, Shivakumar made a sarcastic remark about the rally: “I am shivering with fear.” He changed tone, saying everyone was welcome to see the progress in Kanakapura. “We have no qualms with anybody coming. They [Sangh Parivar] can come, even ministers can come and see the work we have done,” he said.
Mangaluru legislator UT Khader, of Congress, slammed BJP, saying the protest against the statue showed how “narrow-minded” the saffron party was. He said BJP should remember the contributions of Catholic institutions in India.
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