Karnataka is set to witness government-sponsored celebrations on Saturday for the birth anniversary of the controversial 18th century ruler of erstwhile Mysore kingdom, Tipu Sultan. Even before the celebrations, the state saw protests by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday, which has appealed to the government to drop the celebrations. The saffron party staged demonstrations at several places including Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kodagu. In wake of protests in the state, security has been tightened in many areas, and Section 144 has been imposed in several places including Kodagu, Hubli and Dharwad cities from 6 am on November 10 to 7 am on November 11.
JDS-Congress coalition government had last week announced that Tipu Jayanti would be celebrated on November 10 in continuation of the previous Congress government’s policy, however chief minister Kumaraswamy was scheduled not to attend the event in view of “doctors’ advice.” The event will be inaugurated on Saturday by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.
“On the advice of doctors, the chief minister will take three days rest till November 11. He will spend time with family on these days and there will be no official engagements on these days,” the communique said. Minister for Minority Welfare, Haj and Wakf B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan said the chief minister had told officials beforehand that he would be away for medical check-up and hence, his name should not be mentioned in the invitation, PTI reported.
The event in Bengaluru will be held at the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature, as the original venue, in view of representations to the government from Muslim community leaders, PTI reported. The celebrations were first started by the Siddaramaiah government in 2015 amid stiff opposition by the BJP, several Hindu organisations and some individuals.
While Tipu Sultan is considered a freedom fighter by the state government, he is considered a religious bigot by the BJP and its affiliates. The Tipu Jayanti celebrations, which began in 2014 under the Congress government, has been marked by protests and court cases every year.
In 2015, Hindu outfits opposed to the celebrations clashed with Muslim groups who took out a rally to Madikeri town in Kodagu district. The clashes resulted in two deaths.
The celebration of Tipu Jayanti is particularly opposed by people from the Kodagu region of Karnataka citing incidents of violence that occurred in Kodagu in 2015 during celebrations and the historical animosity among the people of the region towards the 18th-century ruler.