20-Foot Tall Statue of Jesus Destroyed by Indian Government

Officials destroyed a 20-foot-tall statue of Jesus standing in a village in India for 18 years. A villager told a local television station that 400-500 policemen were involved in the operation.

Newsroom (21/02/2022 4:30 PM Gaudium Press) – A large Statue of Jesus was destroyed on early Tuesday, Feb 15, 2022, in Gokunte village in Karnataka state, in southwestern India. The local administration said the statue was built on land reserved as an animal pasture and claimed the High Court ordered its destruction. However, Christian leaders from the region say the case was still pending.

“We demolished the statue based on the High Court order. After seven to eight hearings, the High Court had ordered the demolition of the statue as it was constructed on government land. We had issued a notice to the church regarding the demolition. We had to submit the compliance report to the High Court on Wednesday, and hence it was demolished,” voiced a local official.

Fr. Theres Babu, who is also a lawyer, said that the authorities never produced the demolition letter.

“The government has repeatedly been saying that a demolition letter was issued. We have been asking to see the demolition order. It is not clear if it was a judgement. But [the government official] never showed us the order. She has been claiming that the government advocate has sent her an email, saying that the High Court has given an order and based on that she went ahead and demolished the statue.”

The statue was erected next to Gokunte village’s St Francis Xavier’s Church in 2004. According to the villagers, a few pro-Hindu organization members wanted to create tension in the region and filed a plea in the High Court.

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Gokunte village has a population of 500-600 people, and all but four families are Catholic. A villager named Rayappa told a local television station that 400-500 policemen were involved in the operation.

“We have been praying at the statue since 2004. They did not even listen to us and just removed everything using [ a mechanical digger],” Rayappa said. “Despite asking the [local] administration to safely remove the statue and hand it over to us, it was demolished and taken away in a tractor. There were around 14 small structures, and an arch was also demolished. We pooled in funds and worked hard to build it,” he added.

Father Faustine Lobo, the spokesperson of the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops’ Council, told Matters India that the statue was demolished in a “very rude and painful way” and without a proper court order.

The video of the demolition was widely circulated, and the Christians are really alarmed and pained at such repeated acts by the pro-Hindu government machinery,” he denounced.

Karnataka is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party in India since 2014. The BJP is linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist group.

(Via Crux Now)

Compiled by Raju Hasmukh

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