A local VHP leader died and several others were injured when violence erupted over celebrations of the birth anniversary of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan here today.
60-year-old Kuttappa died after falling off a boundary wall as he tried to escape stone-throwing crowds during a district-wide shutdown called against the celebrations, senior police officials said.
Two others, who were seriously injured, are being treated at Mysuru, police said. None was injured in firing by some unidentified men as was initially believed, they said.
Trouble erupted when a group of people who objected to processions being taken to the venue of celebrations were attacked with stones, leading to bursting of teargas shells and baton charge, police said.
The bandh was called by BJP and some other outfits against the government’s decision to celebrate Tipu’s birth anniversary for the first time. BJP had announced state-wide boycott of the celebrations terming Tipu Sultan as a “religious bigot” who persecuted Hindus.
As protesters overwhelmed the security contingent, additional forces were rushed from Chamarajnagar and Mysuru districts and prohibitory orders promulgated in the entire Kodagu district.
“One person fell off a compound – sustained injury on his head and died,” ADGP Law and Order Alok Mohan said.
Police said another person fell from the staircase of a hospital here and died and rubbished reports linking the incident with the violence.
IGP (Southern Range) B K Singh said a function was held at the Town Hall to observe Tipu Jayanti and the organisers were told to keep it an indoor affair. “…We had banned procession. Opposite group had organised a programme to show black flag. At that time procession was taken towards..There they were stopped as there was no permission.”
“They were not ready to agree to us, so there was lathi-charge and tear gas used to disperse them and they were sent back, and sec 144 was promulgated.”
“Before that Kuttappa about 60 years died;..There was stone pelting, to escape from that he has run away and during that he fell from the retaining wall and has died.”
“There was no shoot out or or any one injured because of it; one person by name Sohil got some head injuries during lathi-charge, he has been taken to Mysuru hospital.