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HENB | Bengaluru | Nov 10, 2015:: It’s a Black Diwali for the Hindus of Madikeri in Karnataka. State obstinacy and police excesses for celebrating birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan snatched away a Hindu life. A Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activist died and several others, including policemen, were injured as violence broke out in Madikeri town of Karnataka on Tuesday over celebrations to mark the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan.
Police used teargas and batons to disperse hundreds of people following clashes between opponents and supporters of the celebrations. Officials said the VHP activist suffered head injuries and died instantly.
The activist identified as D. S. Kutappa, 50, suffered head injuries during stone throwing when the pro-Tipu Sultan group and Hindutva activists clashed at the Thimmaiah circle in the centre of Madikeri town on Tuesday morning. He was injured in clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups died in the Madikeri Government Hospital as ‘brought dead’. Some says Kutappa was a victim of Muslim’s stone pelting, some says he had a head injury under police chasing and thrashing, police says he was injured while jumping a wall within the Hospital complex being frightened with police lathicharge!
Kodagu’s Superintendent of Police Varthila Katiyar told reporters that VHP activist DS Kuttappa died after he fell from the roof of a multi-storey hospital. It cannot be said at this point if the man was pushed over, she added.
“He did not die in stone pelting. When protests in Madikeri got out of hand, the Kodagu police lathicharged. To avoid police action, Kutappa ran inside the hospital compound. He tried to jump the wall, that is when he fell down and sustained serious injuries. He was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to injuries,” Kodagu SP said.
Kuttappa died even as riots were breaking out in the streets below, Katiyar said.
Bajrang Dal leader Suryanarayana blamed Muslim groups supporting the state government’s Tipu Jayanti celebrations for the violence and Kutappa’s death. Kutappa was the Organising Secretary of VHP of Kodagu district and was a prime target by the anti Hindu groups and police for his pro Hindutva activities.
The statewide celebrations for Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary are being held for the first time by the government. Several groups allied to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have opposed the events, describing Tipu Sultan as a “religious bigot” who tormented Hindus.
The decision by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanthi on November 10 has been marked by warnings of protests by Hindutva groups led by the BJP and the RSS. While the state government is facilitating the organisation of processions and public meetings to mark the occasion the BJP and RSS have warned of disruption of these meetings.
While Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has described Tipu Sultan as an early freedom fighter who fought the British and governed the Mysore region in a secular manner the BJP and the RSS have described Tipu Sultan as a ‘religious bigot’ who forced local communities to convert to Islam.
The Tipu Jayanti celebrations were marked by protests in the Tumkur district of Karnataka as well.
A grand event to mark the birth anniversary was organised at the Banquet Hall in the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Tuesday morning with Minister Siddaramaiah and several of his cabinet ministers in attendance.
The opposition to the celebration of the birthday of the former Mysore ruler is an agenda of communal forces, Siddaramaiah said. “Tipu Sultan was secular, he fought the British rulers in three wars. In a way the freedom struggle began with the Mysore wars between Tipu and the British,” the Karnataka CM said.
Calling Tipu Sultan, who is considered a folk hero among sections of the Muslim community in Karnataka, a fanatic is a baseless charge, he added. “He contributed to the Sringeri Mutt, and temples like the Nanjangud and Ranganatha Swami Temples.”
The Kshetriya Sanghchalak for the RSS for the Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region, V Nagaraj, had on Friday stated that the Sangh would lend its weight to groups protesting against the celebration of Tipu Sultan’s birthday since the former king Mysore was an ‘intolerant ruler’.
“Most people are opposed to this celebration. Tipu was the ruler of Mysore but at the same time he was the most intolerant king. It is recorded in history not by the RSS. His sword was meant to kill kafirs,” the RSS functionary had stated.
State BJP leader Prahlad Joshi had on Monday issued a directive to all BJP leaders in the state to stay away from all events held around the state to mark the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. The BJP leader also condemned the rampant Muslim appeasement of Muslims in Karnataka by Congress Govt and the ill mentality of Karnataka CM that was expressed through his ‘love for beef’.
The situation in Madikeri is tensed but under control as per reports last came in.
Source: ENS, HT and Agencies.