A day before Section 144 was imposed, the BJP, which had appealed to the JD(S)-Congress government to drop the celebrations, staged demonstrations at several places, including in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Kodagu.
The coalition government led by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has said Tipu Jayanti would be celebrated on November 10 in continuation of the previous Congress government’s policy, prompting the BJP to announce protests. However, Kumaraswamy is not scheduled to attend the main function, which will be inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.
Though the Chief Minister’s Office said Kumaraswamy would not take part in any official function in view of “doctors’ advice”, sources in the Gowda family told News18 that the family considers it bad luck to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, considered by many as a ‘tyrant ruler’.
An official said the function in Bengaluru would be held at the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature, as the original venue, in view of representations to the government from Mulsim community leaders.
Parameshwara, who also holds the Home portfolio, had on November 5 announced that the venue had been shifted to Ravindra Kalakshetra here on advice of the police department owing to security reasons. He had said strict action would be taken against anyone causing riots or disturbing peace.
Tipu Jayanti celebration events should be organised indoors and posters and banners would be allowed there only, he had said, adding that social media posts would also be monitored and action would be taken if they were derogatory.
The previous Congress government, led by Siddaramaiah, began celebrating “Tipu Jayanti” on November 10 every year since 2015, amid stiff opposition by the BJP, several Hindu organisations and some individuals. Widespread protests and violence had marred the celebrations during the first two years.
BJP leaders, including former deputy chief minister R Ashok, B Y Raghavendra and MLC Ravi Kumar, took part in the agitation on Friday and accused the state government of “hurting” the sentiments of Hindus only to appease Muslims.
They said Tipu was accused of killing thousands of people in Kodagu and Mandyam Iyengars of Melukote near Mysuru.
“Tipu was a tyrant and a religious fanatic. Those who tried to exalt him suffered huge losses,” BJP MP Pratap Simha claimed.
The BJP also took a dig at Kumaraswamy’s absence in the event. Party spokesperson S Prakash quipped that the chief minister was avoiding taking part in Tipu Jayanti.
Tipu was a ruler of Mysore and considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company.
He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces.
While BJP and some Hindu outfits see Tipu as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”, some Kannada outfits call him anti-Kannada, saying that he had promoted Persian at the cost of the local language.
(With PTI inputs)