Death threat to Karnad, BJP MP over Tipu row

Bengaluru: Security was stepped up on Thursday for noted Kannada litterateur Girish Karnad and BJP lawmaker Prathap Simha following death threats to them on social media, police said.

They received threats over the celebration of 18th century Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary by the state government on Tuesday across Karnataka.

“We have deployed additional police personnel at residences and offices of Karnad in Bengaluru and Simha at Mysuru and stepped up vigilance to protect them from death threats they received through social media,” state additional director general of police (ADGP) Alok Mohan told IANS here.

In a message on Facebook, Karnad was warned of dire consequences and that he would meet the same end like Kannada rationalist M.M. Kalburgi if he enraged Kannadigas by replacing the name of 16th century city founder Kempe Gowda with Tipu for the Bengaluru international airport.

“Girish Karnad will meet the same end like Kalburgi if he enrages Kannadigas by replacing in Kempe Gowda with Tipu Sultan,” the message said.

The 77-year-old former Hampi University vice-chancellor (Kalburgi) was shot dead on August 31 by two unidentified persons at his residence in Dharwad, about 430km from here in the state’s northern region. The culprits are still at large.

At a function in the city to commemorate Tipu’s birth anniversary, Karnad said the airport should have been named after the Mysuru ruler who was born in 1750 at Devanahalli where it (airport) is located instead of Kempe Gowda who was not a freedom fighter. He, however, apologised on Wednesday for his remarks on both.

Similarly, Simha, who represents the Mysuru-Kodagu parliamentary constituency, about 140km from here, filed a complaint with the local police that he was threatened in a post on Facebook by unidentified persons for opposing Tipu’s function.

Opposition BJP and pro-Hindu organisations, including the VHP and Bajrang Dal have protested against the Tipu function and condemned Karnad for slighting Kempe Gowda, who belonged to the dominant Vokkaliga community.

Meanwhile, the all-India Dr Ambedkar Prachara Samithi filed a complaint here against Karnad and state chief minister Siddaramaiah for stoking controversy over Tipu.