Tipu Sultan, Mysore ruler ( Screen grab courtesy: Indian Express)
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Soon after assuming charge, the B.S. Yediyurappa-led BJP government on Tuesday cancelled the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, which had become an annual event under the previous Congress regime. In an order, Kannada and Culture department has stated that the Hazrat Tipu Sultan Jayanti, which was being celebrated since 2016, has been cancelled “with immediate effect”, reported The Hindu.

“There is huge opposition for the celebration of Tipu Jayanti across the state and there have been several protests against it in many districts in the last few years. Even the people are against celebrating Tipu Jayanti in these districts. Several people have also died due to conflicts because of this and it is a burden on the public exchequer. Hence, as on July 30, Tipu Jayanti celebrations have been cancelled,” Principal Secretary PS Malati’s order states.

The BJP’s move has been condemned by former Chief Minister and Congress Legislative Party leader Siddaramaiah, reported The Hindu.
“It was part of the “anti-minority” ideology of the BJP. It is myopic to see Tipu as a minority icon alone. He fought the British and contributed immensely to the development of Mysore region,” he said.

There is a history to this. When the Congress first announced that the state would celebrate the birthday of Tipu Sultan in November every year, the BJP and other right-wing groups broke out in protests. It sparked off violence, especially in regions where Tipu Sultan had ruled, even resulting in the death of a man in 2015. Although the then government continued holding the annual event under heightened security, debates over the Muslim ruler’s role in shaping Karnataka and its adjoining regions refused to die down. The questions asked were the same: Was he a freedom fighter or a tyrant? A man who contributed to society or a bigot?, NDTV reported.

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