BENGALURU: Security has been stepped up across Karnataka in view of the birthday celebration (Jayanti) of the erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan on Saturday by the ruling coalition partner Congress despite protests by the opposition BJP.
"We have tightened security across the state and deployed additional forces in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kodagu and Mangaluru for peaceful celebration of Tipu Jayanti," a police officer told reporters on Friday.
The other alliance partner, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), is staying away from the state-sponsored event, as evident from the absence of its Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's name in the official invitation.
The Chief Minister's office clarified that Kumaraswamy would be taking rest for three days from Saturday on the advice of his doctors.
"Kumaraswamy will spend time with his family on these three days and there will be no official engagements till November 11," said an official statement.
Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara of the Congress will inaugurate the Jayanti at the state secretariat in the city centre in the presence of special invitees and dignitaries, including cabinet ministers from Congress side.
The Congress began celebrating the birth anniversary of the 18th century controversial ruler on November 10 since 2015 to honour him as a patriot and for his yeoman service to the people in the southern region.
Eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali, Tipu (1750-1799) is also hailed as the 'Tiger of Mysore' for fighting against the British East India Company 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 Mysuru, about 120km from Bengaluru.
Accusing the Congress of indulging in appeasement of minorities for vote-bank politics, the BJP said it was opposed to the celebration of a tyrant, who allegedly killed hundreds of Hindus and Christians in his kingdom.
"We are opposing Tipu Jayanti. Nobody will appreciate this celebration. In the interest of the state, the sate government must stop it. Government's intention behind celebration is to satisfy the Muslim community," tweeted BJP's state unit president BS Yeddyurappa.
Defending the celebration, Parameshwara said Tipu was a patriot who fought against the British and protect the people from the invaders.
"I have directed the police to maintain law and order and ensure peaceful celebration. Pro and anti-Tipu Jayanti processions will not be allowed. The event will be held only in community halls and auditoriums," said Parameshwara, who also holds the Home portfolio.