Not me, cabinet will decide on reintroducing Tipu Jayanti celebrations : Siddaramaiah


Bengaluru, Apr 22 (UNI) Former Karnataka Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Saturday said it will be left to the cabinet to decide on reintroducing Tipu Jayanti if the party comes to power in the state.

“I can’t say, I am not a dictator, I am a democrat. We will have to take the views of all ministers, and then decide in the cabinet,” he said addressing Karnataka Roundtable 2023 at a private hotel organised by a private news channel here.

The Siddaramaiah-led government had introduced Tipu Jayanti from 2015 until BJP assumed power and annulled the celebrations in 2019.

Tipu Jayanti was vehemently opposed by the BJP and saffron brigade during Siddaramaiah’s governance.

Tipu was an erstwhile Mysuru ruler, a bigot who committed genocide on Hindu and Christian communities, and forcefully converted them in some parts of Karnataka and Kerala, according to historical documents.

Defending Tipu Sultan, Siddaramaiah said it was a political allegation levelled by the BJP, calling the erstwhile Mysuru ruler as anti-Hindu. “Didn’t he not fight the British? Several Mysuru wars were waged fighting the British,” he said.

On his anti-Hindutva stand, Siddaramaiah said Hindu Dharma and Hindutva are different, the latter discriminates against human beings and hence he is against it. “I am not against Hindu Dharma though,” he said.

Asked about BJP’s claims that Tipu Sultan destroyed temples and killed Hindus, the Congress leader said, “It is not true. It is a political allegation against Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali.”

On the issues of hijab, halal and azaan, Siddaramaiah said these are mere customs and nobody has the right to interfere into it. “Who are you to interfere in my customs which I have practised since time immemorial? That’s what we said. I am not under illusions, I am a Hindu and I love everyone, regardless of religion,” he said.

A few Muslim girls had raked up an issue in 2022 asking an educational institute in Udupi to allow them to wear hijab during class hours, but authorities concerned banned them from attending only the classes, citing dress code norms in vogue in the institution.

In the ensuing days, the matter blew out of proportion as clashes erupted between pro-hijab and pro-dress code groups in Udupi and adjoining districts. The administration was forced to impose prohibitory orders for some days to bring the situation under control.

The matter was taken up in the Supreme Court where the petitioners contended that wearing of hijab is a necessary religious practice and that the action of the state government amounted to hostile discrimination based on religion.

The government contended that wearing a hijab was not an essential religious practice.

The apex court upheld the dress code norm in vogue in the educational institutions, ruling that hijab does not constitute essential religious practice in Islam.

In yet another petition, the Supreme Court adjudicated a split verdict on the ban of the wearing of hijab in educational institutions in Karnataka – with one judge affirming that the government is authorised to enforce uniforms in schools and the other calling hijab a matter of choice that cannot be stifled by the state.



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