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B Upendran | HENB | Bengaluru | July 30, 2019:: The newly formed BJP government in Karnataka on Tuesday cancelled the Tipu Jayanthi celebrations in the state, calling it “controversial and communal+”. Confirming the move of the BS Yediyurappa government with a tweet, BJP Karnataka said: “Our Govt has cancelled observing controversial & communal Tippu Jayanti.”
The celebration of erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan’s birth, observed every year on November 10, was started by the Congress-led Siddaramaiah government in the state.
The celebrations began in 2015 and were marked by protests the BJP, which called Tipu a “religious bigot” and had urged the then JDS-Congress coalition government to drop its decision to celebrate the occasion.
Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore and considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort at Srirangapatna against the British forces.
Tipu Sultan, however, is a controversial figure in Kodagu district as Kodavas (Coorgis), a martial race, believe that thousands of their men and women were seized and held captive during his occupation and subjected to torture, death and forcible conversion to Islam.
Tipu was a fanatic anti Hindu Islamic ruler of 18th Century in Mysore+. He was infamous for his repression of Hindus and Christians+. Various sources describe the massacres, imprisonment, forced conversion, and circumcision of Hindus (Kodavas of Coorg and Nairs of Malabar) and Christians (Catholics of Mangalore) and the destruction of temples and churches which are recorded as evidence for his religious intolerance.
He is also accused of execution of Mandayam Iyengars at the temple town of Melkote in Mandya district on the day of Deepavali, as they supported the then Maharaja of Mysuru.
However, the scale of such suppression is disputed by several historians, who see Tipu as a secular and modern ruler who took on the might of the British.
While BJP and some Hindu organisations see Tipu as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”, few Kannada outfits call him “anti-Kannada”, citing that he had promoted Persian at the cost of the local language.
The earlier Congress Govt in Karnataka instigated Hindu Muslim Riot during Tipu Jayanti+. One VHP activist died and several injured in 2015. The tension over Tipu Jayati prevailed also in subsequent years.
__With inputs from TNN.