Yediyurappa govt cancels Tipu Jayanti events
Karnataka’s new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on Tuesday cancelled the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, terming them “controversial and communal”.
Known as Tipu Jayanti and observed on November 10, the celebrations were begun in 2015 during the tenure of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government to much opposition from Hindu right wing organisations. That year violence broke out in some regions, especially in Kodagu district, and resulted in one death.
“Our government has cancelled observing the controversial and communal Tipu Jayanti,” the party tweeted, four days after taking over the reins of the state. The decision was taken on a petition by BJP leader KG Bopaiah, who hails from Kodagu district.
Chief minister BS Yediyurappa said the decision was based on petitions by party MLAs. “There were instances of violence during Tipu Jayanti in the past. We discussed this in the Cabinet meeting and ordered that it should not be celebrated.”
Several leaders of the BJP and Sangh organisations have criticised Tipu, calling him a tyrant who indulged in religious persecution and forced many Hindus to convert to Islam. This view has been contested by many scholars and historians.
Siddaramaiah told the media: “As the ruler of Mysore state, Tipu had fought against the British and, hence, was a nationalist. He did a lot for the development of the state. This was the reason we decided to celebrate him. The BJP is committing this crime because of its dislike for minority communities.” He highlighted that Yediyurappa had in 2012 dressed in attire reminiscent of Tipu when he briefly joined the Karnataka Janata Paksha and had even called Tipu a state icon.
In 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind, too, had hailed Tipu as a hero in an address to a joint session of the state legislature, marking its 60th anniversary.