The controversial ‘Tipu Jayanti’ celebrations in Karnataka were marked by protests organised by the BJP and right-wing outfits coupled with the absence of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and his deputy G Parameshwara on Saturday.
With both Kumaraswamy and Deputy CM skipping the event, the main event in Bengaluru turned out to be lacklustre. Earlier, through a statement, the CM office had informed about Kumaraswamy’s absence citing health reasons. “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 statement said.
The BJP claimed that the CM’s absence was due to the difference over the issue with coalition partner Congress.
“While Cong-JDS govt is celebrating a tyrant Tippu, the CM himself goes into hiding, what is the point of celebrating a fanatic when CM himself abandons a govt function. Glorifying a mass murderer just for vote bank clearly shows mindset of this government,” Karnataka BJP said in a tweet.
CM @hd_kumaraswamy Missing!
While Cong-JDS govt is celebrating a tyrant Tippu, the CM himself goes into hiding, what is the point of celebrating a fanatic when CM himself abandons a govt function. Glorifying a mass murderer just for vote bank clearly shows mindset of this govt.
— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) November 10, 2018
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who was to inaugurate the main event at Vidhana Soudha in Kumaraswamy’s absence also skipped the function. Sources at his office told PTI that he was out of town, without divulging any further details.
The celebrations brought the state under a thick security blanket in the wake of a shutdown called by various groups, including the BJP and Codava National Council. Several BJP workers along with MLA M P Appacchu Ranjan were detained by police at Madikeri in Kodagu district. BJP MLA and former assembly speaker K G Bopaiah was also detained in Virajpet during the protest.
In Mangaluru, some protesters tried to barge into the zilla panchayat office with black flags where the event was being organised. The protestors were later detained by police. In Yellapura of Uttara Kannada district too, there were reports of detaining protesters. Similar protests were reported from Chikkamagaluru, Ballari, Karwar and various parts of the state.
Police have clamped prohibitory orders in most of the districts in the state as a precautionary measure. This was the first such celebration of ‘Tipu Jayanti’ after the Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government came to power in the state.
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 10, 2018
Meanwhile, a group of Muslim leaders along with state minister Zammer Ahmed Khan Saturday met senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah and honoured him on the occasion of Tipu Jayanthi. Attacking the BJP for opposing Tipu Sultan’s jayanti celebrations, Siddaramaiah called Tipu a “good administrator” and reminded the saffron party leaders of their presence in similar events when they were in power.
In a retaliatory attack, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar questioned the Congress party saying, “To hold a state government event on Tipu Sultan Jayanti who is a symbol of hatred, is surprising. We want to ask Congress how the one who destroyed Churches, temples and killed thousands of Christians and Hindus, is praised in a state govt event?”
Meanwhile, Congress legislator and former minister Tanveer Sait remarked that the CM’s absence was an insult to the Muslim community.
“This was the first Tipu Jayanthi of the new government. The information is that following doctor’s advice chief minister H D Kumaraswamy is not taking part (in the programmes). Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara is on a foreign tour. This development has somewhere come across as though the community has been insulted. There is no doubt about it,” he said.
According to party sources cited by PTI, several Congress leaders, especially those from the Muslim community, are miffed with the top leader for giving the event a miss.
Tipu Sultan ruled Mysore and was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces. While he is considered a freedom fighter by the state government, he is considered a “religious bigot” by the BJP and right-wing Hindu outfits. The Tipu Jayanti celebrations, which began in 2014, have been marked by protests every year. In 2015, similar clashes over his Jayanti celebrations led to the two deaths of two people.
(With inputs from PTI)