Amid protests and tough resistance from the BJP, the coalition government in Karnataka is going ahead with its official celebrations of the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. The Chief Minister, HD Kumaraswamy, who is reportedly unwell, will stay away from the celebrations.
The BJP has attacked the government for what it calls as the ruling alliance's 'duplicity' and 'pseudo secularism and the party spokesperson, S Prakash said, 'Fearing backlash, they have chosen to stay away. When they had announced it, they should have participated. They are deceiving the voters who have trusted them. Their hypocrisy has been exposed.'
Several protesters were detained this morning in Kodagu district for raising slogans and trying to block the official celebrations. The government had started celebrating Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary in 2015 saying the 18th century Mysuru ruler was a 'freedom fighter', who was killed in the 4th Anglo-Mysore war. The new government has decided to follow the tradition.
The BJP and others, however, say that Tipu Sultan was a brutal king who persecuted Hindus and Christians in large numbers, especially those who refused to convert. The BJP has also accused the government of resorting to gimmicks to appease the Muslim community and wasting public money on such celebrations.
BJP workers took to the streets in Bengaluru on Friday to protest the celebrations. 'Tipu Sultan was a tyrant, not a hero,' said one protester. The former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah tweeted, 'The state government is not celebrating the victory of the leader of any religion. We celebrate Tippu's Jayanthi, a patriot, secular, and generous king.'
The government has banned gatherings in different parts of the state, including Kodagu, which has seen violent protests on the issue. The Kodavas argue that their race was pushed to the verge of extinction after Tipu Sultan allegedly killed 70,000 of them and captured another 90,000 in Devati Parambu.
Historians and scholars remain divided on the issue. Those who back Tipu Sultan talk of him fighting the British and his contribution to temples. Others refer to writings of the British and Tipu's own commander while mentioning the killings of thousands of Hindus and Christians in Madikeri-Malabar region and the forced conversions that he allegedly carried out.