The government-sponsored celebration of the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan and a statement in support of the erstwhile Mysuru ruler by noted playwright Girish Karnad heated up on Wednesday, with protests being held in Bengaluru and across southern Karnataka.
BJP and VHP workers blocked the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway at Srirangapatna and burned effigies of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for observing the birth anniversary of a “tyrant”.
The protestors also demanded Rs. 50 lakh as compensation to the family of the worker, who died during a protest in Madikeri on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Members of the VHP hurled sandals against a portrait of Mr. Karnad during a protest held at Town Hall in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Members of the Karnataka Komu Souharda Vedike (Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum) issued a statement condemning the “divisive” politics of the BJP.
Mr. Karnad apologised on Wednesday for “hurting sentiments” for a statement made on Tuesday at a public function. Addressing the gathering, he had said the international airport in the city, which is named after the ‘founder’ of Bengaluru – Kempegowda, should instead be renamed after Tipu Sultan.
Talking to The Hindu , Mr. Karnad clarified that recognition should be given to Tipu on par with other freedom fighters, and that he had not said that Kempegowda should not be honoured.
Responding to Mr. Karnad’s statement that Tipu would have been revered on par with Shivaji if he was Hindu, BJP’s State secretary, C.T. Ravi called the writer a “fool” and accused him of “inciting communal violence.”