The newly sworn-in BS Yediyurappa-led government in Karnataka, on Tuesday, 30 July, cancelled the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, the controversial 18th century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom, which was being organised in the state since 2015.
The new Yediyurappa government's move, through an order, comes within three days of it coming to power and a day after it won the confidence motion in the state Assembly.
The order said, “There several protests in several parts of the state against the celebration of Tipu Jayanti, especially the district of Kodagu. The people of the district are opposed to the celebrations. Because of this celebration there been deaths in the district and loss of property."
"In the backdrop of all this, the cabinet has decided that the Tipu Sultan being celebrated by the Kannada and culture department has been cancelled with immediate effect".
The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government had started the celebration of Tipu Jayanti as an annual affair on 10 November 2015 and it was continued by the Congress-JD(S) coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy last year, despite opposition from BJP and others.
Speaking to the media, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that he instructed the Department of Kannada and Culture to cancel the Tipu Jayanti celebrations with immediate effect.
According to the order, the decision was taken after Virajpet MLA K G Bopaiah wrote to Yediyurappa requesting him to cancel Tipu Jayanti celebrations organised annually by the state Kannada and Culture Department, highlighting opposition to such celebrations, particularly in Kodagu district.
Kodagu district was marred by widespread protests and violence during the first official celebration in 2015.
How Did The Oppostion React?
Reacting to the move, Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that it is a “crime” to cancel Tipu Jayanti celebrations, while stating that the BJP was against minorities.
“I started Tipu Jayanti celebration 3 years ago. The people of Karnataka accepted it. He was a man who fought against British rule. He’s the first freedom fighter of the country. He’s a historical man. That’s why we took the decision to celebrate it. Tipu is a minority man and the BJP is against minorities. The BJP people are not secular. This shows their thinking and I oppose this move 100%.”Siddaramaiah
Joining the bandwagon, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao said that he was not surprised by the move. Stating that the BJP’s agenda was to polarise the population, Dinesh Rao said that the move was initiated to make political gains.
“Across the country, minorities are being attacked and that is their agenda. BJP wants to divide the population and indulge in politics of hate. We are not at all surprised that they would do this. We expected it,” he said.
The Congress, however, says that Tipu Jayanti will be celebrated with pomp and that the BJP could not stop them. Former Minorities Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan said that the decision would be opposed in the Assembly.
“We will oppose it in the Assembly. Siddaramaiah started the celebrations when he was the Chief Minister. The BJP had been opposing it since it began. This year too, we will celebrate Tipu Jayanti and we will do it with more pomp and grandeur,” Zameer Ahmed Khan said.
(With PTI and The News Minute inputs)