2015: Kalburgi, Tipu issues kept Karnataka govt on its toes

Bengaluru :Brutal killing of rationalist M M Kalburgi that gave rise to a nationwide debate on intolerance, Tipu Sultan birth anniversary celebrations and the resultant violence and spike in farmer suicides formed significant parts of variegated developments in Karnataka during 2015.

The year began with a terror scare following a bomb blast in front of a popular restaurant in the heart of the city, but it also saw police unearthing a terror module of banned Indian Mujahideen with the arrest of its three suspected operatives and seizure of explosives in January.

The State of Karnataka, the sole prosecuting agency filing an appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three others in the disproportionate assets case; and death of Bengaluru techie Prabha Arun Kumar following her stabbing in an attack in Sydney also made headlines during the year.

Karnataka this year faced the biggest agrarian challenge in its recent history with drought situation turning out to be the “worst” in 40 years. About 800 farmers have committed suicide and 136 taluks been declared drought hit.
For Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation, the year began with a change of guard as A S Kiran Kumar took over as Chairman from K Radhakrishnan.

The year also marked a series of successful launches for the space agency that included both Indian and foreign satellites. ISRO had braced itself for one satellite launch every month and succeeded in fulfilling its objective. It launched six Singapore satellites yesterday.

As its first ever interplanetary expedition, the Mars Orbiter spacecraft, completed one year of rendezvous with the Red planet in September, ISRO also announced that the mission will last “many years”.

In a bizarre incident, Bengaluru saw a huge layer of froth floating on its lakes, and even catching fire, giving rise to a national debate on pollution of water bodies by chemical-rich effluents discharged by establishments and households.

On the corporate front, the developments that marked the year includes city-based ING Vysya Bank getting amalgamated into private sector Kotak Mahindra Bank; liquor-baron Vijay Mallya being declared a ‘wilful defaulter’ by banks, corporate legal tangles involving him as also United Spirits’ new owner Diageo asking him to step down as Chairman and Director.

The city hosting 10th Aero India show, BJP National Executive Meeting, and 23-year-old US-educated Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar being crowned the titular head of the erstwhile Mysuru royal family also marked the calendar this year.

77-year-old vocal and outspoken rationalist Kalburgi fell to the bullets of two unidentified men at his residence at Dharwad in north Karnataka, considered the state’s cultural capital. CID is probing the case.