New Delhi: Former Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday slammed the newly formed BJP government for cancelling Tipu Jayanti celebrations across the state. “I only started Tipu Jayanti celebrations. People of Karnataka had accepted it because Tipu was a man who fought against British rule. According to me, he was the first freedom fighter of this country,” said Siddaramaiah.

Condemning the Karnataka government order to not celebrate Tipu Jayanti, Siddaramaiah said, “Tipu is a man of minority community, BJP is against minorities in this countries. They aren’t secular. I oppose it.” He added that Tipu Sultan is a historical man who fought against Britishers, so we had decided to celebrate him.

Yediyurappa government, on the other hand, considered the Tipu Jayanti celebrations as ‘controversial and communal’. According to BJP members, Tipu Sultan was a ‘religious bigot’ and ‘brutal killer’. Therefore, the BJP Karnataka on its official Twitter handle announced: “Our Govt has cancelled observing controversial & communal Tippu Jayanti.”

Notably, the birth anniversary of erstwhile Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan was celebrated annually as Tipu Jayanti on November 10 across Karnataka. The celebrations began during the Congress-led Siddaramaiah government in the year 2015. Ever since the celebrations began, the state was rife with riots particularly from the BJP which pressurised the JDS-Congress coalition government to put an end to the celebrations. One such riot in 2015 turned violent, resulting in the death of a man.

Earlier this year, on May 6, Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor showered praise on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and tweeted “One thing I personally know about Imran Khan is that his interest in the shared history of the Indian subcontinent is genuine and far-reaching. He read; he cares. It is disappointing, though, that it took a Pakistani leader to remember a great Indian hero on his punyathithi (death anniversary).” Tipu Sultan’s death anniversary which falls on May 4.

About Tipu Sultan:

In May 1799, Tipu Sultan was killed by the British forces as he was considered a major threat by the East India Company. This 18th-century ruler of Mysore died while defending his fort at Srirangapatna. Although considered a controversial figure by BJP and Hindu organisations, some historians still consider Tipu Sultan as a modern, secular ruler for exhibiting his might to the Britishers.