Just four days after the statue of General Kodandera S. Thimayya was destroyed in Madikeri town by a speeding KSRTC bus on Aug. 21, another statue of war hero Squadron Leader Ajjamada Bopayya Devayya was partly destroyed by another KSRTC bus last evening.
While Gen. Thimayya’s statue toppled due to the heavy impact, the granite pedestal on which Devayya’s statue stands has been partly damaged. Fortunately, the statue remained unscathed. The 6-feet-9-inch bronze statue is installed at the Old Private Bus Stand Circle and was unveiled in 2020.
The bus was proceeding towards Mysuru from the Madikeri KSRTC bus stand when the incident occurred. The bus belonged to the Mysuru depot and was a regular service plying between Dharmasthala, Subrahmanya, Madikeri and Mysuru.
At the time of the accident, the bus was being operated by a driver named Madhu. As a consequence of the collision, the left side of the roundabout sustained damage, leading to the dislodgement of stones and bricks.
Public stage flash protest
Soon after the accident, public, auto and taxi drivers and private bus stakeholders staged a flash protest and blocked the main road for some time. They demanded action against the bus driver for reckless driving. They shouted slogans against KSRTC for destroying the two statues, symbols of valour and distinguished service.
Bollajira Ayyappa of Kodava Makkada Koota, who was instrumental in erecting the Ajjamada Devayya statue, visited the location, expressing his dismay. He said that 58th Remembrance Day will be held on Sept. 7, the day Devayya was martyred. Ayyappa demanded that the KSRTC must repair the statue before Sept. 4.
The occurrence has garnered disapproval from the public, prompting Geetha, the Manager of the KSRTC Bus Depot, to conduct an assessment of the area and said that action will be taken against the driver for careless driving. She assured that the KSRTC will restore the damaged Circle.
Local law enforcement officials also visited the scene to conduct an investigation and determine any necessary subsequent steps. Virajpet MLA A.S. Ponnanna visited the accident site and directed the KSRTC to restore the statue. On restoration of Gen. Thimayya’s statue, he said that a project report of Rs. 10 lakh has been submitted and KSRTC will bear the costs.
Erasing the legacy of Kodagu
In response to the incident, N.U. Nachappa, the President of the Codava National Council (CNC), stated that it is now clear that certain vested interest groups are working covertly to erase the legacy of courageous war heroes of Kodagu, seemingly with the intention of eradicating the valorous history of the district’s warriors.
“Initially, it was the statue of Gen. K.S. Thimayya, and now we witness a similar occurrence with A.B. Devayya’s statue. We strongly suspect a deeply entrenched conspiracy behind the recurrent desecration of our war hero memorials. We are concerned that these acts might extend to the remaining statues as well,” he said.
“There are indications that the Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa’s statue could potentially be the next target. Curiously, the Madikeri City Municipal Council has inexplicably failed to provide sufficient lighting around these statues, which inadvertently creates an environment for troublemakers, monitored by political opportunists, to carry out such acts of destruction,” alleged Nachappa.