What's the controversy over Tipu Sultan and why massive protests hit Karnataka: Explained

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Bengaluru, Nov 13: Karnataka has been hit by a massive protests at different parts of the state. Two Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers died when pro and anti-Tipu Sultan groups clashed in Kodagu district on Nov 10.

Tipu Sultan, a controversial king, was also known Tiger of Mysore. He was the son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore and ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1783 to 1799.

[Explained: Why Tipu is a controversial figure in Karnataka]

Protest in Karnataka against Girish Karnad

Tipu died at the age of 48 and was succeeded by Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. Despite his several works which helped Karnataka to become a developed state, Tipu faced criticism for his atrocities towards Hindus, including the conversion of Hindus to Islam.

[Why Kodavas won't bow to Tipu Sultan]

Why controversy over Tipu Sultan irked protesters suddenly?

  • Karnataka government-led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah earlier in 2014 announced that Nov 10 will be celebrated as Tipu Jayanti.
  • Many people were disappointed with the announcement and vowed to disrupt the programme.
  • Despite several warnings by Sangh Parivar outfits in Karnataka, the state government organised the event on Nov 10, 2015.
  • It was Tipu Sultan's 266th birth anniversary.

[Tipu Jayanthi: Why the Catholics are opposing it]

VHP workers died:

  • VHP and Sangh Parivar clashed with police and other groups who were supporting the government's decision of celebrating Tipu Jayanti.
  • Two workers succumbed to their injuries which they got during the clash in Madikeri on Nov 10.
  • The massive protest erupted when Sangh Parivar group came to face-to-face with a Muslim group who took out a procession to mark the state government's Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations.

Karnataka Bandh:

  • VHP and its supporters observed bandh in many parts across Karnataka on Friday, Nov 13.
  • Though the bandh did not affect normal life in Bengaluru and other major cities, Madikeri witnessed total shutdown.
  • However, senior police officials refused to accept allegations that the VHP workers died of injuries due to lathicharge.
  • Senior officers claimed that VHP workers died as they fell off a 20-feet wall.

Why was Girish Karnad dragged into the controversy?

  • Jnanpith winner Girish Karnad, a noted artist, landed in the controversy with his statement on Tipu Sultan.
  • Karnad suggested that Bengaluru airport should be named after Tipu Sultan.
  • His statement irked many, especially the Vokkaligas as currently the airport is named after Kempe Gowda, one of its eminent member from 16th century.

[Tipu would have enjoyed status of Shivaji if he was a Hindu: Girish Karnad]

Death threat to Karnad

  • After facing criticism, Karnad apologised for his statement.
  • He also clarified that it was his personal opinion and he did not intend to hurt anyone's sentiment.
  • Meanwhile, an unidentified person on Twitter threatened Karnad.
  • The person claimed that Karnad too will face death like MM Kalburgi.
  • Police, who do not want to take any risk, tightened security for Karnad.

[Tipu Sultan Row: Girish Karnad receives death threat]

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