[Members of saffron organisations clashed with police over celebrations to mark the birth anniversary of Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan. (Photo: Courtesy Hindustan Times)]
Madikeri (Karnataka): A VHP member fell to death on Tuesday, as police caned and fired tear gas on a mob to avert a clash over the celebration of 18th century Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan's 265th birth anniversary here, police said.
"The victim (D.S. Kuttappa, 60) succumbed to injuries he sustained after accidentally falling from a retaining wall to the ground 15-20 feet below after he ran away from a trouble spot where a huge mob was caned to disperse to avoid a clash on the Tipu event," Kodagu district superintendent of police Vartika Katiyar told IANS.
Nestled in the southern Western Ghats region, the hilly town of Madikeri is about 270 km from Bengaluru in southwest Karnataka.
Denying initial reports that Kuttappa died in a clash or stone-throwing between protestors and supporters, Katiyar said as almost everybody ran helter-skelter to avoid being caned, the victim too fled from the trouble spot and ran towards a compound wall of a hospital and jumped off without noticing it was on a hilltop.
"He (Kuttappa) did not die in stone pelting or clash as we dispersed the mob to avoid such an incident and prevent the situation going out of control," Katiyar clarified.
Though the victim was rushed to the state-run hospital, he succumbed to head injuries that he sustained in the fall.
"The situation has been brought under control as we have imposed a ban on assembly of more than five people in the town under section 144 of the CrPC," Katiyar added.
Condoling Kuttappa's death, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaraimaiah told reporters in Bengaluru that there was a deliberate attempt to prevent the state government and the people from celebrating Tipu's birthday (jayanthi).
"Protests against jayanthi is intolerance. The Bihar assembly election results showed there is no place for intolerance in the country," Siddaramaiah said.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party sought a probe into the death of Kuttappa, even as the party boycotted Tipu jayanthi celebrations across the state.