Christian group files complaint against reinstated Bharat Mata statue in Kanyakumari

Days after the District Collector passed an order reinstating the Bharat Mata statue at the Issaki Amman Temple in Kanyakumari, overturning the Kanyakumari police’s decision to cover the statue, another complaint has been filed against the reinstallation of the idol by a Christian Group All India Christian Development Army (AICDA).

The President of AICDA, Theodore Sam, has argued in his complaint that the issue of Bharat Mata statue coming up during the period of lockdown has a potential of disrupting communal harmony and creating discord in the society. Furthermore, the petition asks the District Collector to remove the Bharat Mata statue citing it to be a cause of future communal flare-up in the region.

The move to file another complaint against the reinstallation of Bharat Mata statue under the pretext of inciting communal disharmony appears as a ploy by the Christian missionaries to attack the symbols of nationalistic manifestation and besmirch them as triggers of communal flash-points.

In response to the complaint filed by the AICDA, advocate Ashutosh Dubey issued a legal notice to the District Collector. The lawyer describes Bharat Mata as a personification of India that came first into existence during the nineteenth century, after the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857. The notice calls the complaint filed by AICDA “absolutely baseless” and alleges that the complaint was filed with the intention of “inciting fear and hatred”.

“The statue not at all disrupts the communal harmony because Bharat belongs to the mother-land, India is a secular country and in secular countries, no one holds the authorisation to harm any statue which is related to public sentiments,” the notice reads.

The advocate warned that the notice should be considered as a statutory demand notice and the idol of Bharat Mata should not be tampered with again and again, failing which harsh action will be initiated. The failure to act on the notice will invite legal action under various sections of the Indian Penal Code 1860, Prevention to Insults to National Honours Act, 1971, the notice read.

Bharat Mata statue controversy

A controversy had erupted after a Christian missionary organisation Christians of the Church of South India (CSI), filed an objection over the statue of Bharat Mata with Kanyakumari police claiming that the statue was hurting their “religious sentiments”. After their complaint, the Kanyakumari Police had covered the statue, causing outrage amongst the villagers.

The incident sparked off protests as members of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Hindu Munnani, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other villagers staged demonstrations and later removed the cover. The protest was spearheaded by BJP leader Tarun Vijay and local RSS Swayamsevaks who later secured an order from the District Collector to reinstate the Bharat Mata statue to her original position.

After District Collector overturned the police’s decision to cover the Bharat Mata statue, elated villagers had organised a ‘Bharat Mata Pujan’ programme and worshipped the statue of Bharat Mata with great enthusiasm.

The Bharat Mata statue was situated on the premises of Issaki Amman temple, which is reportedly 200 years old. The site is private property. The owner had installed a statue of Bharat Mata and had embellished it with a tri-colour saree.

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