A controversy has erupted in Karnataka on Friday over the issue of senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar sponsoring the construction of a 114-foot statue of Jesus Christ after the ruling BJP government sought a report from local authorities regarding the status of the land that was earmarked for the project.
Reportedly, the Yediyurappa government has decided to take a relook at the land sanctioned by former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. Revenue Minister R Ashoka said the land allotted was gomal (grazing) and not a barren one as claimed by Shivakumar. “I have asked the deputy commissioner of Ramanagara district to submit a report on the land allotment,” he added.
Earlier, the office of Shivakumar has stated that the Congress leader was utilising his own funds to purchase 10 acres of land at Kapalibetta from the government for the trust that is constructing the statue and claimed it would become the tallest monolithic statue of Jesus in the world. On December 25, Shivakumar had laid the foundation at a prayer meet and handed over the title deed for the project.
However, senior minister R Ashoka speaking on the ownership of the land said that the land was not Shivakumar’s property but a government gomala land. “I don’t know in what sense he (Shivakumar) has said he has purchased and given it… no one can donate it to anyone,” R Ashoka added.
Amidst rumours in the social media that Kapalibetta is now being called “Yesubetta”, the minister said, “For thousands of years it has been known as Kapalibetta, and for no reason, we will allow its name to be changed,” he said, adding the land was given for the sake of development and not to hand over it to others.
Meanwhile, DK Shivakumar move to ‘donate’ land for Jesus Christ statue in Karnataka has invited sharp criticism from the BJP with former Union minister Ananthkumar Hegde attacked him by saying, “A Tihar returned gentleman is trying to please his Italian mother for a post by demonstrating his gallantry through a statue of Jesus Christ. It will not be surprising if more Ghulams (slaves) from the Congress jumped into the arena of appeasement politics.”
Karnataka BJP minister KS Eshwarappa ridiculed Shivakumar by saying that the Congress party which had opposed the construction of Ram temple was installing the statue of Jesus Christ. In a tweet, he mentioned that Jesus Christ was born in the Vatican, instead of Bethlehem.
“To impress their leader, those in the Congress, who opposed the construction of a grand temple dedicated to Lord Ram, born in our holy country, are going to build from their own money a statue of Jesus, who was born in the Vatican,” Eshwarappa tweeted.
Another BJP MP from Mysuru, Partap Simha, questioned the motive behind installing the statue and demanded to know whether it was a scheme to convert Vokkaligas of Kanakapura. In a tweet, he asked Shivakumar whether he had forgotten seers of Mutts like Siddaganga, Suttur and Adichunchanagiri.
“Erecting the statute of Shivakumara Swamiji (Siddaganga mutt) would have been like a crown on Kapalibetta- isn’t it?”, he tweeted.
Out-on-bail Congress leader DK Shivakumar had inaugurated the proposed statue on December 25 at Harobele village in Kanakapura, a predominantly Christian locality. The proposed 114-feet statue will come up at Kapalibetta. The title deed of the 10-acres land was handed over to a trust by DK Shivakumar on Christmas.
The total height of the statue will be 114 feet, 13 feet of the statue would be comprised of steps, which have already been laid. The foundation stone laying process was done by worshipping the stone on the right foot segment of the Lord.