Karnataka celebrates Tipu Jayanti amid massive security

Source : SIFY
Last Updated: Fri, Nov 10, 2017 17:15 hrs

New Delhi: Bringing the state under a thick security blanket, Tipu Jayanti celebrations were held amid protests across Karnataka today to mark the birth anniversary of the controversial 18th-century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom, Tipu Sultan.

With a sharply divided opinion over Tipu's legacy and rising political temperature, opposition BJP, several Hindu organisations and individuals opposed the Karnataka government celebrating Tipu Jayanti through statewide protests.

As over 54,000 police personnel and platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police, bolstered by the Rapid Action Force, kept a hawk-eyed vigil, functions were held at the district headquarters, where in-charge ministers and others hailed the legacy of Tipu.

There were reports of stones being hurled at a state transport bus and over 100 people, including local BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan, being detained in Kodagu district, where widespread protests and violence had marred the Tipu Jayanti celebrations two years ago, when a local VHP leader died and several others, including policemen, were injured.

Kodagu district observed a shutdown in response to a bandh called by the BJP and certain Hindutva outfits. Prohibitory orders are in place in the district till tomorrow morning.

Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore and considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May, 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces.

But, Tipu Sultan is a sensitive issue in Kodagu district as Kodavas (Coorgis), a martial race, believe that thousands of their men and women were seized and held captive during his occupation and subjected to torture, death and forcible conversion to Islam. Kodagu-based writer of historical books C P Beliappa had called the erstwhile ruler of Mysore a "treacherous tyrant".

However, the scale of such suppression is disputed by several historians, who see Tipu as a secular and modern ruler who took on the might of the British. With a sharp polarisation over Tipu Jayanti celebrations, the Karnataka government had made massive security arrangements across the state, deploying over 54,000 police personnel, 20,000 home guards and 212 platoons of the KSRP.