HC criticises Hindutva groups for defying orders to unveil Shiva statue in Bengaluru lake

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The court, observing that the body did not have the authority to reduce the area of the lake & make islands in it, had stalled its construction mid-way in 2019.



Referring to the illegal unveiling of the Shiva statue, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Basavaraj Bommai government. The division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M Nagaprasanna, while hearing the matter, directed the state government to take immediate action.

The statue in question was being constructed on an artificial island inside the Begur lake by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). The court, observing that the body did not have the authority to reduce the area of the lake and make islands in it, had stalled its construction mid-way and had got it covered. However, going against the court, the statue was unveiled by members of the right-wing group in the past week. 

“A shocking incident of unveiling Shiva Idol installed by BBMP on Begur lake island has been brought to the notice of this court. Our attention is invited to the interim orders dated August 30, 2019, September 17, 2019, and 22 February 2021, which in no uncertain terms prohibit the said activity,” the bench underlined. 

“We direct the AGA to forward a copy of the memo along with annexures to the Commissioner of Police Bengaluru, who will personally look into the matter,” the bench added. It also took the opportunity to put forth the statement of the BBMP which said that the status quo ante has been restored today again by covering the statue and by removing the flags on the island. The court added that those aggrieved with the happening could have resorted to statutory remedies available. “They could have always challenged them or applied to the court for intervention to the court seeking to modify the orders,” the court said.

‘We will not let them cover the statue’: Members of the right-wing

As per reports,  the August 2019 order-stalling the construction of the statue was passed after a petition challenging the BBMP’s plan was filed by the Citizens Action Group (CAG), whereafter an intervening petition was filed by Environment Support Group’s Leo Saldanha. Years after the order was passed, pro-Hindu organizations, with Rashtra Rakshana Pade being one of the front-runners, started circulating videos and posters questioning the stall, as per reports. The pro-Hindu organizations, as per the reports, blamed ESG and Leo, which they referred to as ‘Christian missionaries’ in the posters, for blocking the construction of the statue. The posters, as per reports, called the people for unveiling the statue. 

Last week, the statue was uncovered despite the stay order, and saffron flags were raised near the lake. Today, however, police teams went to the site and covered the statue again. Talking to Republic Media Network, the members of the Hindu Organization, who claimed to have again taken down the cover, said “They had covered the statue, we had just asked them not to do that, and removed the cover. We will not let them cover it.”

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