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Dispute holds up construction of India’s largest statue of Jesus

DK Shivakumar
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Hindus protest 114-foot monument, which would rival Rio de Janeiro’s.

Christians in India planning to build a massive statue of Jesus have run into opposition from Hindu nationalists.

The government of the southern state of Karnataka, controlled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked for the suspension of construction until ownership of the land where the statue is proposed has been established by a government inquiry. Critics say that Kapalabetta hilltop, site of the planned monument, is sacred to a local Hindu deity, Kapali Betta. They accuse politician DK Shivakumar, who funded the project and donated the land, of using the statue to proselytize.

Not so, says Fr. Cyril Victor Joseph, who says the land has been used by the Church for decades, and that the proposed statue is simply a replacement of an existing cross.

The Tablet puts the size of the Jesus statue in perspective:

If completed, the statue would stand 101 feet tall, with a pedestal adding a further 13 feet. Currently, the largest statue of Jesus in the world, an effigy of Christ the King in Swiebodzin, Western Poland, stands at 172 feet with its pedestal and 108 feet without. The famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro stands at 125 feet with its pedestal and 98 feet without.

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