The BJP has accused the government of resorting to gimmicks to appease the Muslim community.
Amid protests and tough resistance from the BJP, the new coalition government in Karnataka is going ahead with its official celebrations of the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. 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".
Several protesters were detained this morning in Kodagu district for raising slogans and trying to block the official celebrations.
The Congress government had started celebrating Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary in 2015 saying the 18th century ruler of Mysore was a "freedom fighter", who was killed in the 4th Anglo-Mysore war. The new government has decided to follow the tradition.
The BJP, RSS 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 to Islam.
The BJP has also accused the government of resorting to gimmicks to appease the Muslim community and wasting public money on such celebrations.
Angry BJP workers took to the streets in Bengaluru on Friday to protest the celebrations. "Tipu Sultan was a tyrant, not a hero," a protester said.
Former Chief Minister of Karnataka 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. Tipu is confined to a religion not only to Tippu, but also to the nation."
The government has issued orders banning gatherings in different parts of the state, including Kodagu, which has seen violent protests on the subject in the past.
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 in Kodagu.
Even historians and scholars remain divided on the issue. Those who back Tipu Sultan talk about him fighting the British and his contributions to Hindu 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 Tipu Sultan allegedly carried out.
The government has made it clear that no processions – either for or against the celebrations — will be allowed in Karnataka. Heavy security has been deployed in areas where protests could get out of hand.
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy told NDTV, "The celebrations will be peaceful. I have given direction to all our police officers to take care of the common man. Action will be taken against those trying to disrupt the celebrations."