Bengaluru: JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda extended his support to Congress leader DK Shivakumar and came down heavily on the BJP on Monday over the controversy surrounding the installation of a Jesus Christ statue in Kanakapura, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Karnataka.

The former Prime Minister was responding to a question on the Sangh Parivar’s ‘Kanakapura Chalo’ rally opposing the Christ statue. 

“Former minister DK Shivakumar has assured to erect the Christ statue and I won’t find faults in it,” said Deve Gowda.

“If you don’t have any illusion about the BJP, but I know you (media) do, they broke 19 churches, they burnt the Bible, they burnt two children alive, they raped 10 nuns... it was the Congress in power in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh... and it was Deve Gowda who went everywhere (in protest),” Gowda said. 

“India is a secular nation having all religions,” Gowda said. 

“Ambedkar’s Constitution provides protection to all. I won’t find faults with what DK Shivakumar wants to do. They may have decided to install a Jesus statue atop a hill. We don’t have a problem with it. But why go all the way there from Mangaluru,” he asked.

Shivakumar said he had spent his own money to buy a 10-acre government plot for the trust that is building what will be the world’s tallest monolithic statue of Jesus. He has since been on the receiving end of criticism from state BJP leaders. The area is predominantly Christian.