Karnataka is celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan on Friday, November 10 amidst protests from Hindu outfits and the BJP that oppose the celebration. Sporadic incidents of violence and protest marches were reported from south-west Karnataka. The administration imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC to avoid any untoward incident in Kodagu district.
The protests by Hindu activists and BJP workers turned violent in Madikere on Friday afternoon and started stone pelting. A bus of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) was damaged in the violence.
Over 100 persons who took part in an anti-Tipu Jayanti march in north Karnataka's Hubli have been detained, said DCP Renuka Sukumar.
Tipu Jayanti Virodhi Horata Samiti, an organisation opposing the birthday celebrations of the 18th century ruler, is observing a bandh in Kodagu which affected the normal life and transportation. Private vehicles are keeping off the road.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP are observing a prayer day in memory of a man who lost life in violence during Tipu Jayanti in 2015. Kodagu had witnessed violence during the celebrations last year as well, prompting the district administration to impose prohibitory orders this time as a precautionary measure.
"Liquor sale also banned for the day," Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Kamal Pant from Kodagu told the reporters.
"The ban restricts assembling of more than five persons and maintain law and order in the specific area. We will impose the ban as a precautionary measure at other places if required to ensure peace," the ADGP added.
Also, the Bengaluru City police, following the orders from the government, also prohibited processions or protests, may it be by those who favour the celebrations or the ones against it.
T Suneel, the Bangalore city police commissioner was quoted by PTI as saying, "We are not giving permission to any procession, whether it is in favour of Tipu Jayanti or against it."
"The government itself is celebrating the event in various parts of the city, for which we have made elaborate arrangements," the commissioner added.
There has been an uproar over the celebrations, from the opposition party since the state government started the celebrations in 2015. Considering this, the administration has beefed up the security in Kodagu, Mysore and Bengaluru.
The Bengaluru city police commissioner also briefed the reporters over the security arrangements and said that over 10,000 policemen have been deployed in the city along with thirty platoons from Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) and over 20 armed platoons.
The Karnataka High Court (HC) on November 7, extended the time given to the government to respond to a petition seeking a stay on the celebrations. The court gave four weeks to the government to respond to the petition filed by one KP Manjunath, who raised apprehensions that Tipu Jayanti celebrations would create communal disharmony.
The petition pointed out that violent incidents had taken place in Mangaluru, Kodagu and elsewhere during the celebrations in 2015. He said that the celebrations sparked communal disharmony among the people in Kodagu, when the day was first celebrated in 2015 November. The HC, however, refused to stay the celebrations.
Earlier in October, Ananth Kumar Hegde, BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Skill Development Entrepreneurship, had demanded exclusion of his name from the invitees list of the Tipu Jayanti celebrations on November 10.
"I have conveyed to Karnataka government not to invite me to the shameful event of glorifying a person known as a brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist," Hegde had said.
Following Hegde's appeal to the government, members of parliament Nalin Kumar Kateel and Suresh Angadi along with member of legislative council Basanagouda Yatnal and a few other legislators, criticised the celebrations. Instead of being a part of a celebration in the name of a brutal killer, we would be glad to attend celebrations in the name of APJ Abdul Kalam or Veersavarkar, they had stated.
Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, however, was unperturbed by criticism. "It is being made into a political issue. There were four wars against British and Tipu fought them all. The invitation will be sent out to all central and state leaders. It is up to them to accept or reject it," he responded to critics.