While the opposition terms Tipu Sultan as a patriot, the BJP maintains that he was a tyrannical ruler.
- Decision to scrap Tipu Jayanti was taken on a single day, court observed
- Shouldn't look like decision was taken "arbitrarily", it told government
- Karnataka government has two months to take a call on the matter
The Karnataka High Court today asked the BJP government in the state to reconsider its decision to scrap Tipu Jayanti, the birth anniversary celebrations of 18th-century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan. The verdict came on a petition filed by a group of activists against the decision taken by the BS Yediyurappa government soon after it took over from the Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition earlier this year.
"By way of an interim order, we direct the state government to reconsider its decision adopted on July 30. We direct the state government to take an appropriate decision in this regard two months from today," a bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreenivas Oka and Justice SR Krishnkumar said.
The court also observed that the decision to scrap Tipu Jayanti was "taken in a single day" at a time when the BJP government did not even have a cabinet in place. "It should not look like as the decison was taken arbitrarily," it said. Tipu Jayanti is celebrated on November 10.
Tipu Jayanti celebrations during the former Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition government's rule had given rise to fervent protests from BJP leaders, who termed it as a form of minority appeasement. While the Congress and Janata Dal Secular contend that the Muslim ruler was a patriot who fought against the British, the BJP dubs him as a tyrant who had victimised his Hindu subjects.
During the course of the hearing earlier this week, Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadagi had told the bench that the government's move was only a policy decision to stop Tipu Jayanti celebrations at the administrative level. "If the petitioners want to celebrate it, nothing prevents them from doing so," he held, adding that the festival dates back to a mere four years.
BS Yediyurappa has also announced that his government will drop all references to Tipu Sultan from school textbooks in the state, a decision opposed by historians as well as opposition leaders in the state. "Such topics must not find a place in our textbooks. We are not going to allow such things to happen, and that is 101% certain," the Chief Minister had said at a press meet in Bengaluru last week.
The state BJP also came out in support of the move. "By ending public celebrations of Tipu Jayanti, CM @BSYBJP has restored dignity to Kannadigas. As the next step, textbooks must be rewritten to portray the real Tipu Sultan to our children. They should be made aware of the tyrant's cruelty against Hindus and his anti-Kannada rule," it tweeted.
(With inputs from Agencies)