Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde has asked the Karnataka government to keep him out of the state’s Tipu Jayanti celebrations, calling the erstwhile Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan a “brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist”.
“Conveyed (to) Karnataka government not to invite me to shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist,” Hegde tweeted.
Hegde had also written an official letter to the state asking not to include his name for the event.
The Karnataka government, headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, has planned to celebrate the erstwhile ruler’s birth anniversary on November 10.
The ruling Congress began celebrating Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary since 2015, which led to violent protests by the right-wing organisations in the Mysore region and other parts of the state.
Reacting to Hegde’s statement, Siddaramaiah told reporters here that the event was being given a “political” colour.
“It is being made into a political issue. Four wars were fought against the British and Tipu fought all of them,” he said.
The invitation to the Union Minister was extended only as part of the “protocol”, the Chief Minister added.
“It was only as part of the protocol that he (Hegde) was invited. The invitation is extended to all central and state leaders as part of the protocol. It is up to them whether to attend or not,” Siddaramaiah said.
An official from the Chief Minister’s Office told: “Since Tipu Jayanti is being celebrated as a state event, the protocol demands that the Union Ministers from the state and other central government ministers be invited.”
The letters to all ministers were sent out in advance and it was their discretion whether or not to be a part of the event, the official added.
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker from the state Prahlad Joshi has alleged that Tipu Sultan was “anti-Hindu, anti-Kannada and exploited India”.
“The state should not be using public money for the celebrations. Karnataka government is playing vote bank politics to appease Muslims in the state ahead of the upcoming state assembly elections,” alleged another BJP lawmaker Shobha Karandlaje.
Known as the “Tiger of Mysore”, Tipu Sultan ruled the Mysore kingdom from 1782-1799 succeeding his father Hyder Ali.
Though Tipu Sultan was born in 1750 at Devanahalli on the outskirts of Bengaluru, his kingdom’s capital was at Srirangapatna near Mysore.