Bengaluru, March 04, 2020: A fresh controversy is brewing over ‘Mahima Betta’ near Devanahalli in Bengaluru Rural district over the installation of a statue of Jesus, close on the heels of a similar controversy surrounding the Kapala Betta near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district recently.
Alleging forceful religious conversion atop the hillock, some Right Wing groups had demanded the local administration last week to remove the 12-foot statue of Jesus and recover the land. Accordingly, the local officials, led by Devanahalli tahsildar, removed the statue much to the criticism of many on Tuesday.
Sources at the Devanahalli Chruch revealed that the land, measuring 4.20 acres, was allotted for the burial place in the village. “Since there were several burial places already and also the Catholic Christians had sought land grant from the government, the district administration, led by the deputy commissioner, passed a resolution allowing the Catholic Christian Association of Devanahalli to utilise the land for community purpose and a resolution was passed,” a senior member of the church explained.
The Devanahalli tahsildar conducted a meeting with the villagers of Doddasagarahalli on February 27 about the removal of the statue and accordingly amid police security, the statue and other belongings were removed on Tuesday.
“The statue and the cross have been wrapped in a cloth and handed over to the church authorities while the other belongings, like furniture, have been shifted out,” explained an official from the local administration.
Archbishop of Bangalore Rev Dr Peter Machado said that people were praying at the hillock for several decades.
In a statement, the Archbishop said, “During a meeting with tahsildar, villagers said that the presence of Christians and prayers are of no problem and why should some outsiders come and disturb the harmony of the village. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the police, bowing to the pressure of a few outsiders, have forcibly removed the statue of Jesus. It is a blow to the communal harmony of the people in our villages and also a violation of the religious freedom guaranteed to us by the Indian Constitution.”
Courtesy: Deccan Herald