Tipu Sultan Birth Anniversary – VHP Leader Dies, Several Injured in Protests
Karnataka: A Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activist died and several people were injured at Madikeri in Karnataka on Tuesday during the birth anniversary celebrations of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan led to a clash between two groups. The VHP leader and a former state government employee, suffered head injuries in stone throwing and died on the spot, police said.
Police used tear gas shells and resorted to lathi charge as hundreds of people gathered here and clashes erupted between the opponents and supporters of the celebrations. The violence took place between a Muslim group which took out a procession as part of ‘Tipu Sultan Jayanti’ celebrations, and Hindutva activists protesting against the celebrations. The clashes are said to have taken place in Madikeri town.
The decision by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti on November 10 had been marked by warnings of protests by Hindutva groups led by the BJP and the RSS.
Home Minister G Parameshwara said additional reinforcements were being rushed to Madikeri from Chamarajanagar and Mysuru districts and appealed to people to maintain peace. BJP has announced a “total boycott” of the celebrations, saying that no public representative from their party at any level would participate in the official function.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has defended the government’s decision to commemorate his birth anniversary even as he slammed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and “other communal forces” for opposing it.
The Mangaluru United Christian Association, too, has protested against the celebrations, alleging that Tipu was responsible for the destruction of many churches in the coastal region and also that Christians were harassed under his rule.
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 of Srirangapatna against British forces.