Ananth Kumar Hegde condemned the decision of Karnataka government to continue with celebrations
When the Congress government in Karnataka decided to start celebrating the birth anniversary of 18th century ruler Tipu Sultan two years ago, it may not have anticipated the fallout of that decision. The state government describes Tipu Sultan as a patriot and a freedom fighter who fought the British but the opposition sees him as a bigoted tyrant who forcefully converted people to Islam.
The last two years, there have been protests against the celebrations, but the state government will go ahead for the third year running this November 10. The resistance is still there, with union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde on Friday instructing state government officials not to add his name to the invitation for any event associated with such celebrations.
Mr Hegde, who is from Uttara Kannada district, condemned the decision of the state government to continue with the birthday celebrations despite what he said was the wish of the people and protests that led to violence.
Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary is celebrated on November 10
Ananth Kumar Hegde became a minister in the union cabinet earlier this year as minister of state for skill development. Mr Hegde has faced controversies in the past, including being accused of communal hate speech and fighting with a doctor at a hospital over the treatment of his mother.
In 2016, there was more security in place in Karnataka on the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. And while there were protests in Madikeri in Kodagu district - where Tipu Sultan is said to have oppressed Hindus - it was more peaceful than the first year the date was officially celebrated in 2015. That year saw two people killed in protests.
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