“What is the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti? Tipu was not a freedom fighter, but a monarch who fought the opponents to safeguard his interests,” Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, presiding over the division bench, observed.
The bench however stated since it was a policy and administrative decision of the government, it does not want to put a stay on it.
The issue has snowballed into a controversy between Congress and BJP with the later branding the decision as ‘communal and appeasement politics’. The RSS too has strongly protested the decision.
The observation was made by the Chief Justice during a hearing on a Public Interest Litigation filed by South Kodagu- based K P Manjunatha, challenging government’s move to celebrate Tipu Jayanti.
Justice Mukherjee also questioned the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti amid fears of communal tension escalating in Kodagu district and other parts of the state.
He observed that last year’s celebrations had resulted in a law-and-order situation after protesters resorted to violence.
However, government counsel M R Naik defended the celebrations, saying Tipu was a great warrior who fought against the British.
Countering the submissions, Sajan Poovaiah, counsel for the petitioner, said Tipu was a tyrant ruler who killed people belonging to many communities, including Kodavas, Konkanis and Christians.
RSS had stated recently it opposed the celebration and would stage protests against it as the ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom was a “religious bigot and a violent sultan”.
Government which of late has eyed on strong muslim vote bank in South Karnataka and elsewhere, tried to cash the occasion as the BJP stirs up Hindu sentiment with its nationalism agenda.