Girish Karnad gets death threat for Tipu comment, offers apology

Playwright Girish Karnad has received a death threat for his campaign to rename Kempegowda International Airport after Tipu Sultan. According to reports, he has been threatened that he would meet the same end as murdered writer MM Kalburgi.

Later, Bengaluru police received a complaint against him for “insulting Hindus and the Vokkaliga community (Kempegowda belonged to it) and disrupting social harmony”.

In a latest development, a complaint was filed at the Vidhana Soudha police station here against Jnanpith Award winner Girish Karnad for his ‘provocative’ remark on naming the Bengaluru international airport after city founder Kempe Gowda, on charges that the comment has allegedly hurt the sentiments of certain sections of society.

The complaint against Karnad was filed by Kannada activist China Ramu who said the remarks made by the author had disturbed the peace in the state and also demanded that the police arrest the writer.

However, protest demonstrations were held and rallies were taken out against him in many cities and towns across Karnataka.

The award winning author made the controversial statement while he was addressing a gathering of about 300 people on Tuesday at the Vidhana Soudha function sponsored by the state government to commemorate the 265th birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan.

As the controversy raged, chief minister Siddaramaiah, who was on the dais with Karnad when he made the controversial remark, said the government has no intention to rename Bengaluru airport. “It is his (Karnad) personal remarks. The government does not endorse it. I wanted to counter but I did not do. It was a mistake,” the CM said on Wednesday.

Siddaramaiah, however, defended his government’s decision to celebrate Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary on Tuesday saying he was a freedom fighter and secular ruler. The move had evoked protests from right-wing activists and the BJP boycotted the function held in Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, where Girish Karnad, a host of historians and intellectuals participated. According to the CM, the opposition BJP and Hindu organisations have made allegations against Tipu to gain political mileage and polarize voters.

Meanwhile, BJP MP from Mysuru, Prathap Simha, has also received a death threat on his Facebook account as a consequence of which the police have deployed security for him. The MP had commented on the controversial birth anniversary celebrations of the erstwhile rule of Mysuru, Tipu Sultan.

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