Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dhanvantari statue in BBMP park triggers a controversy

Dhanvantari statue in BBMP park triggers a controversy

Special Correspondent
Emergence of ‘shrine’ in public space is a violation of rules: residents
— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

In the eye of a storm: Work in progress at the Dhanvantari Park in J.P. Nagar on Friday.
BANGALORE: A controversy is brewing over the installation of a statue at Dhanvantari Park in J.P. Nagar, which falls under the purview of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Though a bid to erect the statue was stalled when S.M. Krishna was Chief Minister, the renewed efforts, which includes building a shelter for the statue of Dhanvantari, regarded as the god of ayurvedic medicine, has ignited a fresh row with a section of the people expressing concern over the emergence of a “shrine” in a park, which is a public space, in violation of the rules.

Kannada litterateur K. Marulasiddappa, a resident of the locality, is crying foul. “The earlier attempt to install the statue was dropped after Mr. Krishna personally intervened,” he said.

However, Narayanaswamy, Joint Director of Horticulture, BBMP, said the civic body sanctioned the statue as the park itself was named after the deity. He said the statue would be installed in harmony with the surroundings. A shelter would be built for it and focus lights installed to enhance its appearance.

BBMP officials insisted that the statue would not violate the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act 1975 or the Supreme Court directive against places of worship springing up in public places.

Though Mr. Narayanaswamy said Dhanvantari was not a “worshipable” god, Mr. Marulasiddappa is not too sure.

“If it is not a place of worship why was the foundation laying ceremony conducted by inviting priests, who chanted vedic slokas on the occasion?” he asked.

He also sought to counter the BBMP defence by stating that Dhanvantari was indeed worshipped. He added that like-minded people of the locality planned to hold a protest shortly.

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