Bengaluru, Nov 10 (IANS) Tipu Sultan Jayanti in honour of the 18th century Mysore ruler was held in Karnataka on Friday amidst mass protests, shutdowns and preventive arrests by the BJP and other right-wing organisations.
Tipu’s 267th birth anniversary was celebrated with special functions at his birth place in Devanahalli village on Bengaluru’s outskirts and in cities and towns that were part of his kingdom in the Deccan region.
In the state capital, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah inaugurated the event titled “Hazarath Tipu Sultan Jayanthi” at Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, in the presence of dignitaries.
The ruling Congress began celebrating the birth anniversary of the 18th century Mysore ruler on November 10 since 2015 to honour him as a patriot and remember his service to the people in the region.
However the Bharatiya Janata Party and various right-wing organisation are against the festival, as Tipu is perceived to have been anti-Hindu and alleged to have forcibly converted hundreds of Hindus during his reign in the last decade of the 18th century.
BJP lawmakers from Madikeri, Appachu Ranjan and Sunil Subramani were among the detained when they attempted to take out a protest rally, waving black against the ruling Congress for celebrating the birth anniversary of a tyrant.
Protests were held at several other places too despite police banning them.
“About 300 activists of the BJP and right wing organisations were arrested at Ballari, Madikeri, Mysuru, Mangaluru and Kalaburgi for defying the ban order enforced to ensure peaceful celebration of the festival,” Karnataka Additional Director of Police, Law & Order, Kamal Pant told reporters here.
Kodagu district, especially Madikeri town, 270 km from Bengaluru, was shut down, as shops, hotels, markets and offices remained closed and buses stopped playing since 9 a.m. after a state-run transport bus was damaged in a stone-throwing incident.
Vehicular movement, including that of inter-state and intra-state buses and trucks, was also affected in the Mysuru region due to fear of attacks by protesters.
To prevent a repeat of violent protests that claimed one life in 2015, police had imposed prohibitory orders in Madikeri.
Security was tightened with the deployment of additional forces, including paramilitary troopers in Bengaluru, Kodagu, Mandya, Mysuru and Mangaluru to prevent untoward incidents and disruption of normal life.
About 200 platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police, city armed police and 6,000 Home Guards were posted in sensitive areas till Saturday morning.
Eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali, Tipu (1750-1799) is also hailed as the “Tiger of Mysore” for fighting against the British East India Company to protect and enlarge his kingdom. He was killed in a battle with the British Army in 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatnam near Mysuru, about 120 km from Bengaluru.
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