Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said on Wednesday that the state government will remove all references to 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan from school textbooks, IANS reported. The chief minister made the remark at an event in Bengaluru.

“As lessons on Tipu Sultan must not be in school textbooks, we will not allow them to continue,” Yediyurappa said. “We have already decided not to celebrate Tipu’s birthday on November 10 as a state function as he was a controversial ruler and indulged in forcible conversions, destruction of temples and harassment of the Hindus.”

After forming the government in July, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had announced that it would discontinue Tipu Jayanti celebrations in the state, which had been taking place under the rule of the Congress government and later the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) dispensation.

The Congress on Wednesday criticised Yediyurappa’s remarks. “It is unfortunate that the BJP government has decided to remove the Tipu lesson and stop celebrating Tipu’s birthday as part of its ideological agenda for vote bank politics,” Karnataka Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said. He added that Tipu Sultan was one of the first freedom fighters who fought the British to retain his kingdom’s independence.

State Education Minister Suresh Kumar had earlier directed the Karnataka Textbook Society managing director to study an appeal by BJP’s Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan, for removing the lesson on Tipu Sultan from school textbooks.

“Tipu has been portrayed as a freedom fighter in the school text books in Kannada and English with no mention that he was a tyrant and forced Hindus to embrace Islam,” Ranjan had said in a letter to Kumar.

Tipu Sultan has been at the centre of a political storm in recent years. He died fighting the British in 1799.

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