Tipu Sultan controversy: VHP observes bandh in Karnataka today

A local VHP leader had died as violence erupted over the holding of the birth anniversary celebrations of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan on Tuesday.

Tipu Sultan controversy: VHP observes bandh in Karnataka today

Benagaluru: The bandh called by Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) was observed with effect on Friday as the towns and markets sported a deserted look in many of parts of the state.

Vehicles including buses and auto rickshaws are off the roads, the streets were almost empty and schools and colleges have been given holidays.​

A local VHP leader died and several others, including policemen, were injured in the violence that erupted over the holding of the birth anniversary celebrations of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan on Tuesday.

According to police, one Kuttappa, a VHP leader and a former state government employee, suffered head injuries in stone throwing and died on the spot.

The VHP, Bajrang Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have opposed the state government celebrating Tipu's birth anniversary, as the Muslim ruler was not a freedom fighter but a "religious bigot" who forcibly converted thousands of Hindus to Muslims during his reign.

Eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali, Tipu (1750-1799) was also known as the Tiger of Mysore, as he fought against the British East India Company and Hindu kingdoms in the Deccan region to protect and enlarge his kingdom.

Tipu was killed in a battle with the British army in 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna near Mysore, about 120 km from Bengaluru.

Amid the row over the birth anniversary celebrations of erstwhile Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan, Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad and BJP MP Pratap Simha have received death threats, prompting BJP to attack Congress and demand resignation of Karnataka's Siddaramaiah government.

Karnad, the outspoken Kannada playwright-actor, and BJP's Mysuru MP Prathap Simha haved allegedly received death threats on the social media for their comments on Tipu Sultan even as the death toll in Tuesday's violence at Madikeri over official celebration of the birth anniversary of the 18th century King rose to two with a youth succumbing to bullet injuries.

The Karnataka government had on Tuesday officially celebrated the birth anniversary of Tipu, opinion on whose reign is sharply divided, with some historians describing him as a patriot who fought against the British East India Company, but a section of people of the state accusing him of religious persecution of both Hindus and Christians. BJP and some other Hindu right wing organisations had boycotted the celebrations and held protests.

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