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Tipu Jayanti celebration acrimony in Karnataka may continue into winter assembly session

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah was part of Tipu Jayanti celebrations in Bengaluru’s Vidhana Soudha, where he claimed that the saffron party had resorted to such protests with the 2018 elections in mind. Photo: MintPremium
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah was part of Tipu Jayanti celebrations in Bengaluru’s Vidhana Soudha, where he claimed that the saffron party had resorted to such protests with the 2018 elections in mind. Photo: Mint

Tipu Jayanti celebration reignites Congress-BJP rivalry, which may add to the growing number of issues that may potentially disrupt coming winter session of state legislature

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government celebrating 10 November as Tipu Jayanti has reignited rivalry between the two main parties in the state—the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—which is likely to add to the growing number of issues that may potentially disrupt the upcoming winter session of the state legislature later this month.

Siddaramaiah was part of Tipu Jayanti celebrations in Bengaluru’s Vidhana Soudha, where he claimed that the saffron party had resorted to such protests with the 2018 elections in mind. He added that the state government would hold the celebration every year.

Barely 2km away, BJP state president B.S.Yeddyurappa held a “Black Day" protest against the celebrations.

“The state government is planting seeds of poison in the name of Tipu," Yeddyurappa said during the protests on Thursday, while adding that they were not against the 18th century ruler because he was “Muslim".

So wary was the state government of potential trouble erupting over the event that two senior political journalists—on their way to cover the Tipu Jayanti celebrations at the Vidhana Soudha—were stopped from entering the building by security personnel because they were wearing black T-shirts.

Last year, a clash between opposing groups over Tipu Jayanti had resulted in heightened tension in the district, which continues even this year.

The Congress maintains Tipu Sultan was a national hero while the BJP has been channelling the tyrannical stories of mass murder, torture and pillaging against Kodavas, Brahmins and Christians among others, to stop the celebrations.

But one of the main contention remains whether it should be a state-sponsored event.

Harish Ramasamy, political analyst and a member of faculty at Karnataka University, Dharwad, said Muslims may not value the celebrations if it was done by the Congress party alone.

“As a government celebrating Tipu Jayanti, it would institutionalise and legitimise it," he said, while adding that this would add to the grand old party’s belief that it would benefit them electorally.

Kodagu and Mangaluru, in particular, had a tense atmosphere as the region is said to have been at the receiving end of Tipu’s wrath with mass murders, pillaging of religious structures and forceful conversions.

Prohibitory orders were issued in both districts on Thursday to avoid a repeat of last year-in which two people died in Kodagu district.

“It has been a peaceful with no incidents. All those detained in the morning have been released," P. Rajendra Prasad, superintendent of police, Kodagu said.

There were 3,000 security personnel deployed in Kodagu and 2000 policemen and 10 platoons deployed in Mangaluru on Thursday. Bengaluru had over 30 platoons of security personnel deployed but no prohibitory orders were issued.

Kodagu had sealed its borders with Kerala, Hassan and Dakshina Kannada districts to ensure supporters of either party do not enter the district and make it a bigger problem for the police to handle, Mint reported.

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