Bangalore University students protest construction of Ganesha temple on campus, alleged ‘saffronization’

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Bangalore University (BU) students have alleged that the ruling BJP government is trying to saffronize the university campus by allowing a Ganesha temple to be built inside the campus.

Students have been organizing protests for three days against the construction. The issue took a serious turn when university officials filed a police report against the protesting students.

Dr Jayakara Shetty, Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University, said the decision to build the temple was not made during his tenure. “The decision was made earlier and construction work has started now. Students cannot protest about the temple,” he said.

Shetty had ordered construction work on the temple to be halted amid student protests. However, when the construction work continued, he went to the site and had the work stopped.

Students and organizations including Naija Horatagaarara Vedike, the Federation of Postgraduate and Research Students warned university officials that if they proceeded with the construction of the temple, they would file a police complaint against them. Student organizations were also furious at the filing of a police complaint against them for trying to preserve university property.

Agitated students allege it was an attempt to saffronize the campus and implement a “hidden agenda” by the ruling BJP. The students said that UGC guidelines and law do not allow the construction of religious places of worship such as a temple, church and mosque.

University officials said the Ganesha temple, which stood there near the entrance, was demolished for road widening a few years ago. Bangalore University had then reached an agreement with the BBMP to move the temple to campus premises.

Sources from the higher education department said the temple would be built on campus at all costs and the protests were part of a plot by opposition parties and anti-Hindu forces. However, hundreds of students openly disputed that they would not allow the temple to come up on campus.

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