Just three days after it came into power, and even before it appointed its ministers, Karnataka’s BJP government has scrapped the state-sponsored Tipu Sultan Jayanti celebrations, making clear the party’s communal agenda.
The Congress government under former chief minister Siddaramaiah had in 2015 declared the 18th-century freedom fighter and erstwhile Mysore ruler’s birthday, on November 10 as Tipu Jayanti, in homage to his legacy. But the BJP and other right-wing organisations had opposed the celebrations saying that Tipu Sultan had forcefully converted Hindus to Islam in various parts of his dominions.
Hitting back at the government’s nefarious decision, Siddaramaiah said on Tuesday that the BJP was against Muslims. “The BJP is not secular at all. They are against Muslims,” he said. “He was the first freedom fighter of this country because he fought the British. But for the BJP he is a tyrant because he is from a minority community,” he added.
Congress leader B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan also slammed the BJP for scrapping Tipu Jayanti. “We knew that the BJP would do this. But nobody can stop us from celebrating Tipu’s birthday,” he said.
“The new chief minister took this decision even before he formed his cabinet. We will take up the issue in the Assembly,” Khan said.
Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao condemned the government’s decision. “The BJP is a communal party. That’s why they are taking such decisions. But we will take this up in the Assembly,” he said.
The Congress-JDS coalition government that the BJP has overthrown, too, had celebrated Tipu Jayanti, although then chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy gave the event a miss, citing personal matters last year.
According to journalist Vikar Ahmed Sayeed, more than 25 historical personalities are marked through “Jayantis” in the State but only Tipu Jayanti has run into controversies.