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Fact-Check: Did Karnataka High Court Declare Tipu Sultan as a ‘Jihadi’? No!

While the court did say that Tipu Sultan was not a freedom fighter, it did not declare that he was a "jihadi."

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A graphic purportedly carrying a statement made by former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, against Tipu Sultan is going viral on the internet.

The statement: The graphic said, "Karnataka High Court Declares Tipu Sultan was a Jihadi who fought the British for his own Kingdom and was not a Freedom Fighter (sic)." It further said that Sultan massacred and converted Hindus to Islam.

While the court did say that Tipu Sultan was not a freedom fighter, it did not declare that he was a "jihadi."

An archive of the post can be found here.

(Source: X (formerly Twitter)/Screenshot)

We received a query about the claim our WhatsApp tipline too.

(You can view archives of similar claims here, here, and here.)

What is the truth?: The viral claim is misleading as we did not find evidence to support the fact that the Karnataka High Court called Sultan a "jihadi."

  • While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) which challenged the government's decision to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti, Justice Mukherjee questioned the logic behind the celebrations.

  • He further said that the Sultan was a monarch and not a freedom fighter and the remaining of the viral quote was exaggerated.

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How did we find out?: A keyword search led us to a news report published in The Indian Express in November 2016.

  • The report said that the bench of Justice Mukherjee and Justice RB Budhihal was hearing a PIL filed by South Kodagu-based K P Manjunatha. The PIL challenged the government's decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanti.

  • Justice Mukherjee observed that the Sultan was not a freedom fighter but a monarch who fought to safeguard his interests. He further questioned the logic behind the celebrations.

  • The public counsel MR Naik defended the government's decision and said that the Sultan was a great warrior who fought against the Britishers.

  • Countering the claims, the advocate for the petitioner, Sajan Poovaiah, said that Sultan was a tyrant ruler who killed people belonging to many communities, including Kodavas, Konkanis, and Christians.

While the court did say that Tipu Sultan was not a freedom fighter, it did not declare that he was a "jihadi."

The report was published on 2 November 2016.

(Source: The Indian Express/Screenshot)

The court's judgment: The Quint accessed the judgment made by the Karnataka High Court on 3 November 2016.

  • The court said that "whether Tippu Jayanthi shall be celebrated or not is a policy matter of the government."

  • The writ petition was disposed of and the court did not expression any opinion on the merits of the claim and the counterclaim of the parties.

  • The high court directed the petitioner to make a representation to the Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka to express his grievance against the celebrations.

  • We did not find any similar remarks made by the court against Sultan as seen in the viral claim.

While the court did say that Tipu Sultan was not a freedom fighter, it did not declare that he was a "jihadi."

The judgment did not carry any similar statements seen in the viral claim.

(Source: Karnataka Judiciary/Screenshot)

No information available in public domain: We did not come across any news reports or information that could support the claim of Justice Mukherjee calling Sultan a "jihadi."

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What was the matter about?: In 2015, the Karnataka government had announced the celebration of Sultan's birthday in the state on 10 November and had invited prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

  • However, the state BJP president Prahlad Joshi said that the party will officially boycott the function.

  • However, the celebrations reportedly turned violent in Madikeri town of Karnataka and led to the death of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist, DS Kuttappa, and a bystander.

  • The petition against the celebrations were filed the next year.

Conclusion: It is clear that a fabricated statement is being shared to claim that the Karnataka High Court declared Tipu Sultan a "jihadi."

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.

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