Police had to be called in the campus on Monday to prevent the situation from getting out of control.

 Idol war in Bangalore Uni between 2 groups of students Home Min orders probeimage of the new Saraswati statue| Sandesh MS/Twitter
news Controversy Wednesday, May 08, 2019 - 10:01

High drama has been playing out at the Jnanabharathi campus of Bangalore University over the last two days over an argument regarding installation of idols. The issue also attracted the attention of Home Minister MB Patil, who has directed the state police chief to submit a report, as the controversy was widely reported.

“The university should not have replaced one statue with another. We have great respect for both Saraswati and Buddha. I have instructed the police chief to ensure things remain as they were earlier,” Minister Patil told reporters on Tuesday evening.

As heated words were exchanged between two groups, the university administration had even called the local police on Monday to defuse the situation.

A group of students under The Federation of Bangalore University Post Graduation and Research Scholar Students had installed a statue of Gautam Buddha where a statue of Goddess Saraswati was about to be placed. 

The same place in front of the administrative block, near the entrance of the University campus, had previously housed an old Saraswati statue which had worn out over the years, after it was first installed in 1973.

Noticing the Buddha statue instead of the Saraswati statue, students opposed to the other group raised objections and approached the administration to remove it. They also started a silent protest for their cause. This later turned into a potential fight when students who installed the Buddha statue apparently came to the protest site. 

Jurisdictional Jnanabharathi Police confirmed that the situation was under control as they reached the campus.

Sources said that this installation of statues was a means of proxy war and assertion of power between students and faculty of the university, who were divided on political ideologies. “The statue was replaced by the V-C himself as he did not want to wait for the election code of conduct to get over and wait for all the red tape involved in getting government funds,” a source said. 

Following a high-level meeting chaired by Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor KR Venugopal on Tuesday, it was decided that the Buddha statue will be installed at a separate place within the University while the Saraswati statue will be placed at the same designated place.

“We have decided to keep both the statues but we will put the Saraswati statue in this place as before,” the V-C told TNM.

The place of installing the Buddha statue is yet to be decided.

“We have decided a sub-committee headed by Shivanna, the Chairman of the Syndicate will decide on the place where the Buddha statue will be installed,” the V-C said.

Sources said the students who installed the Buddha statue are close to controversial Professor of Sociology, BC Mylarappa. Mylarappa could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.

When asked about this, the V-C said, “He has denied his involvement in the incident. There is CCTV footage and we have given it to the DCP West. The footage shows 30-40 persons came for the installation of the Buddha statue. I do not know how many of them are students.” 

A former university student said, “Mylarappa has strong political clout but not limited to any party. He had the patronage of BJP during Yeddyurappa regime. Prior to that, he had a strong network of students who were part of BSP’s student wing through which he used to control all hostels.”

Incidentally, Mylappa was also accused of plagiarising from his own students in the past.

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