Bengaluru: A day ahead of the Tipu Jayanthi celebrations in Karnataka, the state government has tightened security across several locations in the state, including Kodagu district and virtually turned the district into a fortress.
Police have widened its dragnet over 'anti-social elements' and has warned over 3,000 people to avoid a law and order situation.
Senior police officials told CNN-News18 that prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been imposed at a couple of places, including Chitradurga, where protests had been planned.
Police have already taken over 400 'anti-social elements' into preventive custody.
"We are keeping track of all those who have the slightest chances of causing trouble. More than 3,000 people have been warned of a hefty fine in case they violate law," said Additional DG (Law and Order) Kamal Pant.
The Karnataka government’s decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanthi across all districts was received with severe opposition by the opposition BJP, who called the move a ploy of 'minority appeasement.'
The practice of celebrating the erstwhile Mysore King’s birth anniversary, began two years ago. The state witnessed riots and the death of a Kodagu resident in the first year of these celebrations.
This year, soon after BJP MP Anant Hegde reignited the controversy by rejecting a government invite to the celebrations, President Ramnath Kovind begged to differ from his party’s opinion and hailed Tipu as a hero.
Kovind said that the ‘Mysore Tiger’ died a heroic death while fighting the British and how he was a pioneer in developing the rocket technology that was later adopted by the Europeans.
Taking note of the number of seminars, protests and demonstrations across south Karnataka since November 3 and a bandh in Kodagu district, the state has brought in three companies of
Rapid Action Force (RAF) in Madikeri, Mangalore and Chitradurga.
While the entire police force will be put on high alert, 171 platoons of the reserve police, too, have been deployed in different districts. Bengaluru alone will see more than 11,000 cops on duty.
"We are acting against those anti-social elements who we think could pose to be a problem later. District Commissioners have also been told that they may invoke Section 144 after consultation with the police," Pant told News18.
All Tipu Jayanthi programmes will be organised by the government and private organisations have been asked not to hold any events and instead join the government ones.
Even at the government functions, there will be multiple layers of security, frisking and other security measures.
With Karnataka scheduled for elections soon, the government has permitted pre-planned rallies and yatras by political parties.
The Congress' 'Mane-Manege Congress', BJP's 'Parivarthana Yatra' and the JDS' 'Kumara-Parva Vikasa Yatre' had begun earlier this month and are underway in different districts.
In fact, the BJP Yatra will be going through the sensitive Mangalore region on Friday.
While the BJP rally is most likely to remain unaffected, the party will still have to take permission from local authorities to check on the exact locations and the routes they will take.