To appease the Muslims, the Congress government in Karnataka led by chief minister Siddaramaiah has decided to make the controversial Tipu Sultan Jayanthi an annual affair and celebrate the event across the state, including Kodagu (Coorg), on November 10.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah does not seem to have learnt any lessons from last year’s happenings during the Tipu Jayanathi in which violence broke out across Kodagu, killing two persons, including a VHP activist D.S. Kuttappa, during the maiden celebrations of the event which was essentially the brainchild of Siddaramaiah to woo the Muslim voters.
Unlike last year, this year the celebrations will be organized by the department of Kannada and Culture, instead of the minorities department. And the venue of the function has been shifted this time from Vidhana Soudha to Ravindra Kalakshetra.
An official of the Kannada and culture department, said: “A sum of Rs 60 lakh has been earmarked for organizing Tipu Jayanthi celebrations in all districts. The date was fixed after consulting historians and academics as there was confusion over his birthday.”
The 18th century Mysore ruler is considered a tyrant by the Kodavas and Nairs in Kerala besides Christians, mainly Mangalorean Catholics as Tipu had forcibly converted them to Islam.
The Siddaramaiah government decided to celebrate his 266th birth anniversary for the first time last year, mainly with a view to woo the Muslim votes.
It was competitive politics which made Siddaramaiah to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Mysore ruler as the previous BJP government also did something similar when it introduced Basava, Valmiki and Kanakadasa Jayanthis and declared some as public holidays.
The magisterial inquiry held by the then Mysuru deputy commissioner C. Shikha into the Tipu clashes in Kodagu last year had held the then Kodagu deputy commissioner and superintendent of police responsible for the lapses.
The Karnataka Cabinet accepted the magisterial report which noted that the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police were on leave before the celebrations and failed to hold peace meetings.
Several Kodava organisations have opposed the celebrations of the Tipu Jayanthi this year in Kodagu. The government should heed to the request and desist from organizing the event in the interest of peace and tranquility in Kodagu, bordering Kerala, as there is a fear that miscreants from Kerala sneak into Kodagu to engineer communal clashes.