Even though a magisterial inquiry has held the then Kodagu deputy commissioner and superintendent of police responsible for the clashes during the Tipu Sultan birth anniversary celebrations last year, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah cannot escape blame for the loss of two lives in the peace-loving district of Kodagu.
Much against opposition to the event, Siddaramaiah decided to go ahead with the celebrations for the first time to mark the birth anniversary of the controversial 18th century ruler of Mysore, mainly to win over the Muslim votes.
Since it was a magisterial inquiry, Mysuru deputy commissioner C. Shikha could not have gone into the politics behind the incident. A judicial inquiry is required to unmask the politics behind the clashes which turned the tranquil Kodagu into a war zone last November 10.
Knowing the sensitivity involved in celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu, known to be a polarising figure, chief minister Siddaramaiah should have arrived at a consensus with the various shades of political opinion.
The Karnataka Cabinet on Wednesday 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.
Karnataka law minister T.B. Jayachandra, who briefed reporters on the decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting, said the inquiry report recommended transfer of both SP Vartika Katiyar and DC Meer Anees Ahmed. Mr. Ahmed, however, retired from service recently. Notices will be served on Ms. Katiyar and Mr. Ahmed and a departmental inquiry will be conducted against them as recommended by the report.
EDITORIAL: In light of the clashes, Karnataka government should not hold the Tipu celebrations in Kodagu in future. The drubbing the Congress received in the last zilla panchayat elections in Kodagu, is a lesson to Siddaramaiah that he should not play with the emotions of people. The Tipu incident will remain a black mark in Siddaramaiah’s tenure as chief minister.