Tipu Jayanti: BJP trying to disturb communal harmony, Sec 144 imposed

Bengaluru: Security has been stepped up across Karnataka in view of the birthday celebration (Jayanti) of the erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan on Saturday by the ruling coalition partner Congress despite protests by the opposition BJP.

Various groups protesting against #TipuJayanti celebrations in Madikeri offer prayers at Sri Omkareshwara Temple in the town. They will then carry out a procession against the celebrations, which are being observed in the state today.

“We have tightened security across the state and deployed additional forces in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kodagu and Mangaluru for peaceful celebration of Tipu Jayanti,” a police officer told reporters on Friday.

Karnataka Minority Welfare Minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan met former CM Siddaramaiah at his residence in Bengaluru on Saturday.

The other alliance partner, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), is staying away from the state-sponsored event due to ill-health. Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s office clarified that Kumaraswamy would be taking rest for three days from Saturday on the advice of his doctors.

“The government is observing the birth anniversary of Hajarath Tippu Sulthan today all over the State. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy commends Tipu Sultan’s progressive measures in administration, and his quest for innovation are commendable. He has also stated that as he is taking rest on doctor’s advice he is unable to take part in the programme,” the statement said, adding, “It is unnecessary to add a special meaning to it. It is also far from truth that he isn’t taking part due to the fear of losing power, as he opposes such blind beliefs.”

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Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara of the Congress will inaugurate the Jayanti at the state secretariat in the city centre in the presence of special invitees and dignitaries, including cabinet ministers from Congress side.

The Congress began celebrating the birth anniversary of the 18th century controversial ruler on November 10 since 2015 to honour him as a patriot and for his yeoman service to the people in the southern region.

Eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali, Tipu (1750-1799) is also hailed as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ for fighting against the British East India Company to protect and enlarge his kingdom.

Tipu was killed in a battle with the British army in 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna near Mysuru, about 120km from Bengaluru.

Accusing the Congress of indulging in appeasement of minorities for vote-bank politics, the BJP said it was opposed to the celebration of a tyrant, who allegedly killed hundreds of Hindus and Christians in his kingdom.

Defending the celebration, Parameshwara said Tipu was a patriot who fought against the British and protect the people from the invaders.

“I have directed the police to maintain law and order and ensure peaceful celebration. Pro and anti-Tipu Jayanti processions will not be allowed. The event will be held only in community halls and auditoriums,” said Parameshwara, who also holds the Home portfolio.

With agency inputs