Tense situation prevailed in Madikeri town in Kodagu after a VHP office-bearer died during a protest against the State government’s decision to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti on Tuesday.
Kutappa (60), who was the organising secretary of the VHP, suffered head injuries in stone-pelting when members of two groups clashed.
Senior police officers, including Kodagu SP admitted that there was stone-pelting and Kuttappa tried to jump over a compound wall to escape from the melee but fell into a trench and injured himself.
He succumbed to his injuries while being shifted to the hospital.
“Kuttappa did not die due to stone-pelting but due to the injury sustained while jumping over the compound wall,” police said.
Section 144 has been clamped in Madikeri and security has been beefed up in the town. There were minor sporadic incidents of violence at Virajpet and Napoklu.
Earlier, two groups were embroiled in a clash during which there was stone-pelting and police fired a few rounds in air besides lobbing tear gas shells to quell the mob.
The BJP and other pro-Hindu outfits had opposed Tipu Sultan Jayanti and called for a bandh on Tuesday but the district administration had made elaborate arrangements and beefed up security to conduct the event.
Congress MLA K.G. Bopaiah called for immediate arrest of those responsible for Kuttappa’s death.
Mysuru MP Pratap Simha, who spoke to The Hindu , flayed the district administration and the police for their failure to handle the situation. He alleged that people from other districts had arrived in large numbers ostensibly in support of the Jayanti celebrations and the police failed to crack down armed protesters.
“Such events should be held to commemorate icons, who have rendered yeoman service to society. Let the government hold a jayanti celebration in honour of late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam but not Tipu Sultan,” said Mr. Simha.
Inspector-General of Police (South) B.K. Singh and other officers are camping in the district and monitoring the situation.