BJP, Bajrang Dal workers protest against ‘renaming’ of sports complex after Tipu Sultan in Mumbai
However, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said that the municipal corporation has not approved any change of name for the park.
Bharatiya Janata Party and Bajrang Dal workers on Wednesday held protests in Mumbai against the “renaming” of a renovated sports complex and park after 18-century ruler Tipu Sultan, The Indian Express reported.
However, Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray said that Mumbai’s municipal corporation has not approved any renaming of the park.
“No renaming has taken place,” Thackeray said. “The BMC [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation] has authority over these issues and we can say that no proposal of renaming has been submitted before the BMC.”
The park is located at Malvani in the city’s Malad West area. It is known locally as the Tipu Sultan ground. The refurbished sports complex was inaugurated on Wednesday by Congress leader and Malad West MLA Aslam Shaikh.
The Bharatiya Janata Party members have claimed Tipu Sultan to be a tyrant who destroyed many temples and villages and converted thousands of people to Islam. Their opposition is more visible in Karnataka, where they disbanded the celebrations of Tipu Jayanti in 2019 and even called for removal of his references from school textbooks.
However, historians guard a different view of the 18th-century ruler. They often recall his resistance to the British when they had colonised India. He, along with his father Hyder Ali, are also credited for attempting to modernise the economy of Karnataka’s Mysuru, where they ruled.
During Wednesday’s protest in Mumbai, BJP and Bajrang Dal workers deflated the tyres of some public buses and blocked a road in the area on Wednesday, according to NDTV.
The police have filed two first information reports under provisions pertaining to unlawful assembly, rioting, wrongful restraint and violation of coronavirus restrictions. A total of 64 persons, including BJP MP Gopal Shetty and MLAs Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Atul Bhatkhalkar, have been named in the FIR, according to The Indian Express.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Bhatkhalkar said that the party will not tolerate the “glorification of Hindu haters”.
“We are not afraid of police action,” he said.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis “strongly condemned” the police action.
“These are the heights of shamelessness for power,” Fadnavis said. “An event to name a sports complex after Tipu Sultan was carried out with police protection. And BJP, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers who protested against renaming after Tipu Sultan, who committed atrocities against Hindus, faced batons and arrests.”
Aslam Shaikh, however, said that the Congress believed “in development politics, not name game for cheap fame like BJP.”