Bengaluru: Amidst campaign to bypolls in RR Nagar and Sira, brothers DK Shivakumar and DK Suresh faced a setback as their proposal to install the world's tallest statue of Jesus on 15 acres of land sanctioned 80 kilometers away from Bengaluru was stayed in the High Court. 

The development came after a Public Interest Litigation was filed, claiming that the land for the statue was allotted illegally and that it allegedly an attempt to grab government land to fulfil selfish ends of two politicians and their followers in the garb of self-styled guardians of the Christian community.

Following the PIL by Anthony Swamy, Harobele Kapalabetta Abhivruddhi Trust, which was carrying out the construction activity, has been asked to stop work. 

As per the reports, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi passed the interim order and issued notices to the state government and Trust.

The bench stated that Kanakapura has a negligible population of 2,000 Christians out of which 1,500 reside at Harobele and Nallahalli villages. The petitioners alleged that the then Energy Minister D K Shivakumar and his brother D K Suresh, who is an MP of Bengaluru Rural constituency, initiated the process voluntarily in February 2017 by sending a note to the Deputy Commissioner of Ramanagar for granting 15 acres of land in Survey No. 283 of Nallahalli village of Kanakapura taluk, without any demand from the Christian community. 

What the PIL says? 

The PIL allegedly stated that in March 2017, the Trust submitted an application for grant of 10 acres land at the behest of politician-brothers. The petition says that Harobele village already has a church and there is no need for another church on a sprawling 15 acres land with the tallest Jesus statue, as envisaged by DK brothers to create a votebank. 

Accusing the DK brothers of stooping to a new low of creating a religious divide only with a view to consolidate 'votebank', the petitioners say, "The DK brothers were sowing seeds of religious disharmony by favouring a particular religion". 

The petitioners allege that the DK brother's used their influence and got 15 acre land for the Trust without issuing a public notice for grant of land as per Section 17-A of the Karnataka Land Grant Rules. The petitioners further accuse the Tahsildar of submitting a report to Deputy Commissioner stating that there was 'No Objection' from local villagers to grant the 15 acres land. 

What petitioners want? 

The petitioners citing a Supreme Court order pointed out that the Apex court has, time and again, held that public property cannot be permitted to be used by private persons and appealed before the court to quash the order passed by the government to grant the land to the Trust with a concession of Rs 49.5 lakh at the behest of DK Shivakumar.