VHP leader dies during clash over Tipu jayanti during controversial birthday celebrations and sparks clashes in Karnataka

VHP leader dies during clash over Tipu jayanti during controversial birthday celebrations and sparks clashes in Karnataka

The controversial birth anniversary celebrations of the erstwhile ruler of Mysuru, Tipu Sultan, organised by the Congress government in Karnataka turned violent on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and a spectator.

Meanwhile a Muslim youth who was shot at is in a critical condition.

Violence broke out in BJP strongholds of Madikeri and coastal Karnataka region as the party had called for a statewide protest against the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, who it regards as “anti-national”.

Police disperse protesters in Kodju, Karnataka, on Tuesday after two groups clased over the state government decision to go ahead with Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations

Though the state government had deployed adequate police personnel expecting a law and order problem, it could not prevent the clash.

In the hill station of Madikeri, VHP activists were staging a demonstration in the General Thimayya Circle condemning the celebrations around 10 am. When a procession carrying Tipu Sultan’s portrait arrived at the junction, it led to a war of words between the two groups resulting in clashes.

The warring factions pelted stones at each other. Scores of buses and private vehicles were damaged during the clash.

Though cops dispersed the crowd by resorting to caning and lobbing tear gas shells, the communal clash claimed the life of Kodagu district VHP organising secretary D S Kuttappa (50).

He bled to death after a stone allegedly pelted by a miscreant hit his head, according to the BJP and VHP. However, KJ George, Kodagu district-in-charge minister disputed the claim, and contended that Kuttappa died after he slipped and fell to the ground from a compound during the clash.

“We have ordered a detailed probe into the incident. The truth will come out,” he added. Kodagu SP V Katiyar said that Kuttappa was trying to scale a compound after the police resorted to lathi-charge.

“However, he fell to the ground and injured his head. We are probing the matter,” he pointed out.

As the news about Kuttappa’s death spread like wildfire, elsewhere, Sahil (25), who was part of the Tipu celebration, was shot at by an unidentified gunman in Madikeri. He is fighting for life at a private hospital in Mangaluru.

Additional police forces were rushed to Madikeri, a hyper sensitive area in southwest Karnataka.

“It is clear that the Congress government officially sponsored the birth anniversary celebrations in an attempt to appease a section of our society. We do not support this divisive politics. The death of the VHP activist was pre-planned. We will not rest till we seek justice,” said BJP’s Karnataka unit president Prahlad Joshi.

Another victim Raju (50), who was observing the clashes from the terrace of the hospital where he was admitted for treatment, died after he lost his balance and fell to the ground.

Meanwhile, the coastal city of Mangaluru too went up in flames with Hindu and Christian groups opposing Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary celebrations.

They erected road blockades and burnt effigies of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The police had to resort to lathi-charge at several places to disperse the protesters.

Hundreds of activists of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal were taken into custody in Mangaluru, as they raised a banner of revolt. In Moodabidri where a Bajrang Dal activist was killed recently, the police arrested three people for disrupting Tipu’s birth anniversary celebrations.

The Hindu activists had blackened the posters pasted by the government and other organisations to mark the anniversary celebrations in Dakshina Kannada district. CM Siddaramaiah defended the government’s decision to celebrate Tipu’s birth anniversary.

“We have no intentions of making political gains out of this. Tipu was a great warrior and defended the state from external forces. The BJP is in the habit of painting everyone in a poor light. Their political masters are unable to understand the scope of this celebration,” he added.

Karnad in the soup over Tipu remark

Actor Girish Karnad: In the soup over remark

Jnanpith laureate and celebrated writer Girish Karnad is in trouble for suggesting that the Kempe Gowda International Airport in Bengaluru be renamed after Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan.

His comments gained importance in the wake of communal violence in Karnataka on Tuesday on the occasion of birth anniversary celebrations of the controversial ruler.

“Airports have been named after Subhash Chandra Bose, and in Mumbai it is named after Shivaji Maharaj, but the Bengaluru airport is named after Kempe Gowda. While Kempe Gowda deserves all respect as the founder of Bengaluru, he was not a freedom fighter. The Bengaluru airport should be named after Tipu Sultan,” Karnad said in his speech in Bengaluru on Tuesday at Vidhana Soudha.

Karnad pointed out that it would have been appropriate for the government to honour Tipu considering his contributions.

“Had he been a Hindu, he would have enjoyed the same cult status as that of Shivaji Maharaj in Maharashtra,” he added. The BJP and the VHP condemned his comments.

“People are clashing today because of Tipu Sultan. We denounce Karnad and his comments. We will launch statewide protests tomorrow and Karnad should apologise to the people of the state,” said former deputy CM and BJP leader R Ashoka. BJP workers and VHP activists also burnt effigies of Karnad in Bengaluru and Mysuru.

The police have deployed security personnel at Girish Karnad’s residence in Bengaluru following threats to him from fundamentalist groups. Karnad refused to be drawn into a debate on the matter and remained incommunicado to the media.

Mangaluru Christians too unhappy over celebrations

The Christians in coastal Karnataka region, under the banner of United Christian Association of Mangaluru, on Tuesday expressed their discontent over the government-sponsored Tipu Sultan birth anniversary celebrations.

Members of the association distributed pamphlets and other campaign material in Mangaluru condemning the government’s stand on Tipu Sultan

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (second from left) at a function to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti in Bengaluru

According to the association, atrocities were committed on Christians in coastal Karnataka during Tipu’s regime. “When Tipu conquered coastal Karnataka, he held more than 80,000 Catholics captive. Many of them were forced into conversion and several others were killed.

Only 20,000 of them returned to Mangaluru to narrate the horrific tales during captivity. He suspected Catholics of supporting the British in the war.

The persecution of Catholics by Tipu is well-recorded by the Catholic diocese,” said R Fernandez of the association. Catholic Christians submitted memorandum to the government denouncing its decision to make a patriot out of Tipu Sultan.

“To honour him as a freedom fighter is sacrilegious because the very concept of freedom movement did not exist until the beginning of the 19th century.

"There has been a calibrated move by some elements to project him as patriot for obvious reasons and even history books are replete with such distorted facts and half truths. It is unfortunate that even the government has become a party to such machinations of certain individuals and institutions,” said Robert Rozario of the association.

VHP leader dies during clash over Tipu jayanti during controversial birthday celebrations and sparks clashes in Karnataka VHP leader dies during clash over Tipu jayanti during controversial birthday celebrations and sparks clashes in Karnataka Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 7:27 PM Rating: 5

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