Jnanpith award-winning playwright Girish Karnad has received a death threat via an anonymous Twitter handle, where he has been warned that he "will meet the same end like Kalburgi" for his praise of Tipu Sultan.
"Girish Karnad will meet the same end like kalburgi if he enrages kannadigas by replacing in Kempe gouda (sic) with Tipu Sultan," read the tweet from anonymous Twitter user 'Intolerant Chandra'. This was later deleted by the user.
Karnad had said on Tuesday that Bengaluru's Kempegowda International airport should be renamed after the eighteenth century ruler, who is also known as 'Tiger of Mysore'. In his speech, he argued that Kempegowda was never a freedom fighter, and that the airport should be named after Tipu Sultan instead. He was speaking at the state government-sponsored Tipu Jayanti celebrations, which was boycotted by many groups in Karnataka who protested against celebrating the Muslim ruler.
"If Tipu had been a Hindu and not Muslim, he would have attained the position in Karnataka that Shivaji Maharaj enjoys in Maharashtra," Karnad had said.
Local police have not registered a case yet. "We are aware of the tweet and action will be taken if necessary and if a complaint is lodged," an unnamed senior police officer told The Times of India.
A "shava yatra" of Tipu bhakta Girish Karnad was taken out. This leftist anti Hindu writer has lost all respect. pic.twitter.com/1jcNNx9s8p— Kiran Kumar S (@KiranKS) November 11, 2015
Separately, an NGO worker has also complained against Karnad to the Bengaluru police, for allegedly "insulting Hindus and the Vokkaliga community (Kempegowda belonged to it) and disrupting social harmony".
"We have accepted the written statement but have not registered any FIR. We have sought the legal cell's opinion," said DCP (Central) Sandeep Patil to TOI.
Karnad has issued a public apology for his comments: "If anybody has been hurt by my remarks, I apologize.... What will I gain by giving such comments?"
The Vishva Hindu Parishad also organised a protest against Karnad's comments. "Kempegowda is the nadaprabhu (ruler of the land) of Karnataka. He has insulted our nadaprabhu," said Basavaraj, VHP's state organisation secretary. "We are condemning Girish Karnad. He is not a writer, he is only Siddaramaiah's man."
The state BJP too has protested against Karnad, even though they have condemned the death threat made against him.
Protest condemning the murder of VHP leader Kutappa & senseless statements of Girish Karnad pic.twitter.com/vjKUy3bZnx— BJP Karnataka (@bjpkarnataka) November 11, 2015
BJP Karnataka president Pralhad Joshi tweeted: "BJP strongly condemns & protests the sick minded statement of Girish Karnad on Kempe Gowda,The statement was uncalled for & provocative."
However, the party has still called for a thorough enquiry into the death threat to Karnad.
Meanwhile state president of Dr Ambedkar Prachara Samiti, N Ramu, said today that Karnad's Jnanpith Award should be taken back.
"The Bangalore International Airport has been named after Kempegowda long back; now he is saying it should be named after Tipu Sultan. People of Karnataka are pained by it. These writers and literary people are making controversial statements. They are disrupting peace by making such remarks. We demand that case be filed against him," Ramu told ANI.
"We have lodged a complaint with the police against this statement. We have demanded that his Jnanpith Award should be taken back and that he should be arrested."
Call For Karnataka Bandh
Now the VHP has called for a bandh in Karnataka tomorrow following the escalating tension in the state over the birth anniversary of the 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan.
A VHP activist was killed yesterday in Karnataka during the birth-anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, which led to a violent clash between two groups.
The activist succumbed to the injuries he suffered during the stone-pelting amid the clash.
The clashes broke out between VHP activists and a Muslim group following which the police had to resort to lathi-charge to control the situation.
(with inputs from ANI)
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