By P.T. Bopanna
The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka has clamped prohibitory orders in Kodagu district for celebrating at gun point the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan on November 10.
By clamping prohibitory orders in Kodagu to celebrate Tipu jayanti by large-scale deployment of police and personnel of the Rapid Action Force, the Siddaramaiah government seems to be bent on turning Kodagu into a laboratory for experimenting his polarizing politics.
Prohibitory orders have been clamped across the district from 4 pm on Monday to 8 am on Friday (November 11).
There is no doubt that the entire exercise of celebrating a tyrant is to garner Muslim votes in the coming Assembly election. This despite the fact that the celebrations had led to large-scale violence in Kodagu last year in which two persons were killed.
Siddaramaiah seems to think that by polarizing people on religious and caste lines, the Congress could get re-elected in Karnataka with the support of SC/STs, OBCs and Muslims.
This is nothing but a short-sighted view as the Tipu issue could be exploited by Hindu fundamental forces.
District BJP president Manu Muthappa said, “The state government is trying to create unrest in the district by celebrating Tipu Jayanti. Nobody had demanded the celebration of Tipu Jayanti. Let the government observe APJ Abdul Kalam and Santa Shishunala Shareef Jayanti. The government should not hurt the sentiments of the people.”
The deputy commissioner Richard Vincent D’Souza said that the government has issued guidelines to observe Tipu Jayanti. It is the duty of the district administration to observe it in a peaceful manner, he added.
The entire exercise seems to reek of vote bank politics. Even the chief justice of Karnataka high court had noted while hearing a public interest litigation on Tipu jayanti that the ruler was not a freedom fighter (as sought to be made out by Siddaramaiah).
If the chief minister had been sensible, he could have spared the people of Kodagu and Mangalore from the celebration as there is hatred against Tipu who had massacred and forcibly converted Kodavas and Mangalore Christians during his rule.