In the Jnanabharathi campus of Bangalore University, two groups are at loggerheads with each other over the forceful installation of a Buddha idol in a place that is meant to have a Saraswati idol.
A Saraswati idol installed in 1973 was reportedly broken last year during an event and a new idol was to be inaugurated this Friday. Vice-Chancellor K.R. Venugopal had reportedly spent money from his personal account to buy a new idol of goddess Saraswati.
On Monday, some research scholars led by one professor Mylarappa allegedly brought the Buddha idol and installed it at the spot meant for the Saraswati idol, at the entrance of the administrative block in Jnanabharathi campus.
Irked by this, students and staff staged a protest and demanded the idol to be removed. The protesters did not object to having a Buddha idol but objected to the fact that idol was installed in that particular spot.
Following, this the Vice Chancellor intervened and ordered the idol removed. A while later, there was a heated exchange of words between the two parties at the administrative block. The police were called in to control the situation. In the evening a sub-committee meeting was organised to decide on the situation.
The Vice-Chancellor has stated, “In the sub-committee meeting chaired on Monday evening, we have decided not to change the place designated for Saraswati idol. New idol will be installed at the same place where the old idol was installed. The committee will look into an alternate place to keep the Buddha idol.”
As reported by TOI, the controversy is rooted in some university officials and a professor attempting to settle old scores and exert control over administrative affairs.
Reportedly, students who had installed the Buddha idol were close to controversial Professor of Sociology, BC Mylarappa. According to the Vice-Chancellor, Mylarappa had denied his involvement in this. A CCTV footage has been submitted to the police showing 30-40 people who came for the Buddha idol’s installation.
Home Minister MB Patil, had directed the state police chief to submit a report on the situation. He told reporters, “The university should not have replaced one statue with another. We have great respect for both Saraswati and Buddha. I have instructed the police chief to ensure things remain as they were earlier.”
The sub-committee has finally decided not to change the location of the Saraswati statue and install a Buddha statue nearby. They have appealed to all stakeholders to cooperate and maintain peace.