India: Controversy Surrounds a Statue of Christ

March 04, 2020

In Kanakapura, a city of 55,000 in southern India, Catholics have tested the limits of religious freedom: the project to set up a statue of Christ on property that has belonged to the Church for more than a century has been interrupted, on grounds that the hill actually belongs to the Hindu gods!

And yet a Hindu, Doddalahalli Kempegowda Shivakumar, member of the moderate Indian National Congress party, supported the project, honouring the laying of the first stone with his presence on December 25, 2019, Christmas Day.

But in Karnataka as in many other Indian states, the nationalist Bharativa Janata Party (BJP) holds power, with a simple but effective line: eradicate Christian presence in the region, in order to restore the Hindu religion in its original purity.

Thus the work was soon halted by militia. Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore requested the arbitration of Chief Minister Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddiyurappa, also a member of the BJP, on January 5, 2020. In vain, it would appear, since on January 8, daily The News Minute reported that the government of Karnataka had found numerous irregularities in the plans, which are now cancelled.