The ruling JDS- Cong coalition government’s determination to go ahead with the Tipu Jayanti celebrations on 10 November has raised the hackles of the BJP which has warned of state wide protests if the event is conducted overruling the sentiments of the people.

The deputy chief minister, Mr G Parameshwara, on his part, warned that strict action would be taken against those who “ vitiate peace and communal harmony during the celebrations.” He accused the BJP of inciting communal passions over the issue while expressing government’s determination to beef up security across the state to prevent any untoward incident.

BJP state unit president, Mr BS Yeddyurappa, has urged the government to honour the sentiments of the people and to drop the celebrations. According to him, Tipu Sultan who ruled Mysuru in the late 18th century was a religious bigot and had ordered the massacre of thousands of Kodavas during his invasion of Malabar. In addition, he had ordered the execution of Mandayam Iyengars at the templetown of Melkote in Mandya on Deepavali day.

The government should instead, the BJP has suggested, honour eminent Muslim personalities like Dr A P J Abdul Kalam or the war hero and martyr, Abdul Hamid.

The Congress leaders, in particular, claimed that the BJP was trying to exploit the issue politically ahead of the 2019 general elections “but we will foil their designs,” they asserted.

Meanwhile, state Kannada and culture minister, Ms Jayamala, confirmed that the Tipi Jayanti would be celebrated as per the government’s order.

In a related development, Union minister for skill development, Mr Ananth Kumar Hegde, asked the government to refrain from printing his name on the invites for the function as he was opposed to the event. He also directed the deputy commissioner of Uttara Kannada district not to invite him on 10 November for the function.

In another development deputy commissioner Sreevidya and Kodagu SP, Dr Suman Pannekar, held meetings with state officials to ensure that precautionary measures were in place to prevent a repeat of the 2015 incidents when the celebrations had taken a violent turn; even leading to communal clashes and the death of two persons.