Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad and BJP MP Prathap Simha have allegedly received death threats on social media in the wake of the row in Karnataka over birth anniversary celebrations of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan even as sharply-divided views were aired on the issue.
Both Karnad, renowned Kannada author, playwright and actor, and Simha, also active in sharp writings over various issues, faced the threats through online posts even as the toll in the violence at Madikeri in Kodugu over the row climbed to two after a youth succumbed to bullet wounds.
Karnad, who has come under attack for his remarks that the Bengaluru international airport should have been named after Tipu Sultan rather than the city’s founder, Kempe Gowda, received a threat on Twitter that he would meet with the same fate as rationalist MM Kalburgi, who was gunned down recently by two men at his residence in Dharwad in north Karnataka.
Security has been posted at the residence of Karnad in the wake of the controversy over his remarks with several organisations, particularly those connected with the dominant Vokkaliga community to which Kempe Gowda belonged, Kannada bodies, right-wing outfits and BJP, targeting him.
Mysuru-Kodagu BJP MP Simha, who received a threat to his life in a Facebook post, has approached Mysuru police.
A tweet posted on the twitter handle, ‘Intolerant Chandra’ allegedly said that Karnad will meet with the same fate as Kalburgi if he enrages Kannadigas with such comments.
A senior police official said they have received information about a post making a threat against Karnad and are looking into the matter.
Unfazed by the threats, Karnad said, “Tweets don’t worry me.” He said that Kalburgi was murdered by contract killers and “such kinds of people don’t tweet”.
“It was a professional who killed Kalburgi, so tweets don’t worry me. If people tweet, it is almost certain that they don’t have guts,” he told a TV channel.
He said he does not take tweets seriously, but takes the government’s responsibility seriously.
“If government feels your life is in danger, and if they want to provide security, I will cooperate…,” he added.
Meanwhile, Simha that said he had seen a Facebook message after returning from Kodagu — where the violence took place. He complained about a post that he claimed had a photo of “martyr” Kuttappa, the local VHP leader killed in the Madikeri violence, placed by one of his photos with the threat that he “will meet the same fate.”
“Immediately I alerted Mysuru police and gave a complaint to jurisdictional police station of my residence Vijayanagar; till now nothing has been done,” he said.
Meanwhile, VHP has given a call for a hour-long statewide ‘rasta roko’ protest tomorrow against the Madikeri incident.
Roads would be blocked from 11 AM, VHP Organisational Secretary Gopal told reporters here.
“We also demand Rs 25 lakh compensation for the family of the deceased,” he said.