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VHP leader killed in anti-Tipu Sultan protests in Karnataka

Kodagu (Karnataka): A day after the Opposition BJP announced the boycott of Karnataka government’s birth anniversary celebrations of the 18th-century legendary king Tipu Sultan on Tuesday, stating that the king was a “religious bigot”, protests in the state’s Kodagu town turned violent, leading to the death of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) official.

Protests by Hindu outfits in Kodagu turned violent after stone pelting by angry mobs. In the clashes between the police and agitators, as many as three persons were reportedly injured and VHP’s Kodagu Organising Committee Secretary killed.

“It’s a total boycott on our part, no public representative from our party at any level should participate in the official function,” state BJP President Prahlad Joshi said on Monday. Describing Tipu Sultan as a “fanatic” and “anti-Kannada”, he said, “….we have 44 legislators, and it is a practice that wherever such events are organised local legislator presides over it. We have instructed our legislators that they should not preside over this event, they should not go on the dais.”

“As the party state President, I’m giving this instruction to all our party public representatives through the media. We will also be sending this instruction through all our district presidents and zonal office bearers,” he told reporters at Hubballi in north Karnataka.

Several organisations and individuals have opposed the state government’s move to celebrate ‘Tipu Sultan Jayanti’ on November 10, with a few threatening to disrupt the first-ever such government celebration.

Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore, who was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna against the British forces.

Once again defending his government’s decision to organise ‘Tipu Jayanti’, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said RSS and “other communal forces” were opposing it. Speaking to reporters here, he said, “Tipu is a patriot, he fought against the British, in a sense freedom struggle began from three Mysore wars, he lost his life during the battle, and he had even pledged his son to British.” “RSS is unnecessarily trying to defame him, we will celebrate his Jayanti,” Siddaramaiah added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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