Bengaluru: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday said it will organize statewide protests against the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S)-Congress coalition government’s decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler, on 10 November.
“I urge the state government to drop its decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanti and not to stand on prestige or ego. The people’s sentiments and emotions against Tipu is strong and widespread," said B.S. Yeddyurappa, BJP’s state president, in a statement.
After threats of protests, the state government has made elaborate security arrangements for the event across all 30 districts of Karnataka.
The demands by right-wing groups has become almost an annual affair. There are varying versions of the legacy of the former ruler in which one side believes that he donated generously to Hindu establishments, while the other accuses him of destroying temples and churches and killing thousands in Karnataka and Kerala.
For the Congress, celebrating the birth of the 18th century ruler—considered the first ruler to militarily oppose the British East India Company—is part of its secular ethos, as Muslims form a key part of its voter base. The Karnataka high court is also hearing a case which has sought to stop the celebrations.
Tipu Sultan was born on 10 November 1750, at Devanahalli, in the outskirts of Bengaluru, and was the ruler of the then Mysore from 1782 till his death in battle in 1799. The BJP and Congress have often crossed swords on the issue, resulting in violence across several parts of the state, especially in the Kodagu district.