Mangaluru: While the BJP and other Hindu organisations have been protesting against the Tipu Jayanti celebrations around the state, on the coast they have been joined by the Catholics, who too are strongly against it , recalling the massacre of Christians by the 18th century Mysuru king.
In fact, they follow a 200- year- old tradition of thanking the Bunt families, who protected their church from Tipu's onslaught. History has recorded that around 80,000 Christians from Karwar to Kasargod were taken captive by Tipu and lodged in Srirangapatna, even as he targeted 27 churches in the region.
"Of the 27 churches, Tipu destroyed 25. But thanks to members of three Bunt families, who did not allow Tipu's army to demolish the church at Damaskatte, it was saved. And Jain families stood against the demolition of the church at Moodbidri," says activist, Robert Rosario, who has been vociferously against the Tipu Jayanthi celebrations. "Christians of all ages, the old, children and pregnant women from the state’s coastal districts, were forcefully taken to Srirangapatna. They walked for six weeks during which many died en route. It was horrific. t. Many others died in captivity in Srirangapatna. This is well documented history. We are the descendents of the survivors of Tipu's tyranny," he adds. So grateful were the Christians of Damaskatte to the locals for protecting their church, that they started a tradition of thanking them every year during the the annual festival of the Damaskatte Church that is held on the last Wednesday of November.
But Mr Rosario does not blame the Congress alone for the Tipu Jayanthi celebrations and regrets that the BJP did not oppose the Siddaramaiah government from holding them. “Three senior leaders of the BJP, B S Yeddyurappa, Ashok and Jagdish Shettar instead held a sword in memory of Tipu. The BJP began to oppose Tipu Jayanti only after it realised that a majority of people were against it," he contends.
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