District-level Committee permits statue installation as it does not encroach upon public space
Mysore/Mysuru: The issue surrounding installation of a statue at the Gun House Circle near Mysore Palace, a bone of contention among various organisations, took an unexpected turn last night with the abrupt installation of the statue of the late Suttur Seer Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji.
This morning, however, the proceedings of the District-level Committee (as authorised by the Karnataka High Court) was released to the media. The Committee has decided to permit the installation of Sri Rajendra Swamiji’s statue at the Gun House Circle.
Up until now, one faction had been advocating for the installation of Sri Rajendra Swamiji’s statue at Gun House Circle, situated near the South Gate of the Mysore Palace, while another group insisted on placing Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar’s statue in the same location. The Gun House Circle is located in front of the JSS Mahavidyapeetha building.
The foundation for the statue was laid by Chief Minister Siddharamaiah during his first term on Aug. 29, 2018. The initiation of the statue installation was carried out by the Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji Centenary Celebrations Committee.
Last night, the statue was transported to the Circle by a crane and was placed on the pedestal, much to the disapproval and anger of members of the Urs community. They protested the sudden move, citing that the matter was still pending in the High Court, and the installation violated a Court order.
As a crowd supporting the Urs community gathered at Gun House Circle to protest the statue installation, devotees of Sri Rajendra Swamiji also assembled at the spot, asserting that opposition to Sri Rajendra Swamiji’s statue was unwarranted. Arguments ensued between the two groups, leading to a tense situation. Eventually, the Police intervened and the escalated situation was brought under control. But the protests continued till late in the night.
Decision of District-level Committee
Meanwhile, the decision (as per the High Court directive) made by the District-level Committee to proceed with the installation of Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji’s statue at Gun House Circle was communicated to the media this morning.
The Committee, which convened a meeting on 22.6.2023, thoroughly examined the issue and conducted a site visit. It concluded that the Sri Rajendra Swamiji Circle already exists at the said location and that the installation of the statue would not encroach upon public space. On 2.9.2023, a letter was sent to the Principal Secretary of the Law Department seeking legal opinion.
Given that the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Urban Development Department, the Law Department forwarded it to the Urban Development Department on 25.9.2023. The Urban Development Department then instructed the District-level Committee to make a decision in accordance with the High Court’s ruling on 10.6.2022.
During its meeting, the District-level Committee observed that the Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji Circle (Gun House Circle) is situated at the intersection of six roads. The Circle existed even before 29.9.2009, and it was determined that the Circle was not newly constructed. Furthermore, the Committee concluded that the installation of the statue of Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji would not encroach upon public space.
As per the decisions, the Mysuru Deputy Commissioner, who is the Chairman of the Committee, passed an order on Dec. 5, 2023 to go ahead with the decision of the Committee.
Other members include City Police Commissioner, Mysuru City Corporation Commissioner, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mysuru Urban Development Authority Commissioner, PWD Executive Engineer, Project Director, Town Planning Authority and Mysuru Tahsildar.
The copies of the District-level Committee proceedings have been sent to Jayadevaraje Urs, General Secretary, Karnataka State Urs Sangha, JSS Mahavidyapeetha, Sathyanarayanarao of Akhila Bharatha Kshatriya Mahasabha, Bengaluru, Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Seva Trust and Palace historian Prof. P.V. Nanjaraje Urs.
District Committee must take a decision: High Court in June 2022
The Karnataka High Court, while allowing a Review Petition of the State Government on June 10, 2022 had said that a District-level Committee shall examine the proposal of the State Government on the installation of the statue.
The Karnataka Government, in its order on Mar. 3, 2017, granted permission for installation and maintenance of the statue of Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji, which was challenged by two organisations through a Writ Petition.
The High Court, which heard the Writ Petition on Sept. 7, 2021, directed not to install the proposed statue. But the Karnataka Government filed a Review Petition on Sept. 25, 2021 and the High Court passed an order on June 10, 2022, stating that the District-level Committee shall examine the proposal of the State Government for installation of Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji at Gun House Circle.
‘It is legal & not violating orders’
We have installed Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji’s statue in a legal way, without violating any orders. The move is as per the decision taken by the District-level Committee and the Karnataka High Court. Dr. Sri Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji worked for the welfare of not one community but all communities and we have utmost respect for the Wadiyar family and their contributions to the region’s development. The statue was installed at night with Police protection as there is much traffic during day time.” — Dr. C.G. Betsurmath, Executive Secretary, JSS Mahavidyapeetha
I have learnt about placing of a statue surreptitiously during late evening hours, using a crane at Gun House Circle, Mysore. It is very unfortunate that this kind of high handedness is displayed from an organisation claiming to be a prudent institution. I have supported the sentiments of the members of the community who have persistently resisted installation of the statue in the said location.” — Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, Member of Mysore royal family