K’taka CM, deputy give Tipu Jayanti a miss; protesters detained
BENGALURU : The Karnataka government Saturday celebrated the 269th birth anniversary of erstwhile Mysore (Mysuru) ruler Tipu Sultan even as chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and his deputy G Parameshwara gave the event a miss, drawing sharp criticism from the BJP.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is opposed to the celebration, which was started by former chief minister Siddaramaiah in 2015, said the chief minister’s absence was a U-turn. In a tweet, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Karnataka unit said, chief minister @hd_kumaraswamy Missing! While CONG-JD(S) government is celebrating a tyrant Tippu, the chief minister himself goes into hiding, what is the point of celebrating a fanatic when chief minister himself abandons a govt function. Glorifying a mass murderer just for vote bank clearly shows mindset of this govt.” While Siddaramaiah had headed the previous three celebrations, this time irrigation minister DK Shivakumar and food and civil supplies minister BZ Zameer Ahmed presided over the event. The chief minister’s office confirmed that Kumaraswamy was advised rest as he has a history of heart-related ailments and hypertension. Parameshwara, meanwhile, is abroad, his office confirmed and is set to return late on Saturday.
“The chief minister had said that he is unwell and his health is very important. Parameshwara was delayed for some unforseeable reasons, and that’s why he could not make even though he was expected to. I, too, am part of the government and decided to come here and take part at the event,” Shivakumar said. Zameer Ahmed said Parameshwara had travelled to Singapore to visit the former minister C Chennigappa, who is undergoing treatment in there. “There was some miscommunication because he thought the event was in the evening. And despite his repeated attempts to make it to the event he has been unable to,” Ahmed said.
Meanwhile, a group of Muslim leaders, including Zameer Ahmed, felicitated Siddaramaiah by presenting him with a Tipu Sultan cap and sword at his residence. “Tipu was born in this land, gave good governance and promoted unity between Hindus and Muslims, and had many Hindus in his administration. So, to call him anti-hindu or anti-kannada is completely baseless,” Ahmed said.
No processions either in support or opposing the event were allowed by the government.
Protesters were detained by the police across the state to avoid any untoward incidents. Among those detained were BJP MP Prahlad Joshi and the party’s state vice-president M Nagraj, besides from MLA A Appachu Ranjan and several worker across the state.
However, the most trenchant criticism came from within the Congress as Tanveer Sait, a former minister and its MLA from Mysuru, called the chief minister and deputy chief minister’s absence as an insult to the Muslim community.
“This is an insult to the community...my duty is to express the feelings of the community and not just the views of the party,” he said.