The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state to reconsider its decision to cancel Tipu Jayanti celebrations, NDTV reported.

During the tenure of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress, the state government used to celebrate the 18th century Mysuru ruler’s birth anniversary every year on November 10. The BJP government led by BS Yediyurappa scrapped the celebrations after taking oath in July.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice SR Krishna Kumar issued the directions while hearing a public interest litigation plea filed by a group of activists. “By way of an interim order, we direct the state government to reconsider its decision adopted on July 30,” the court said. “We direct the state government to take an appropriate decision in this regard two months from today.”

The court said the government’s decision was “taken in a single day” when the BJP government did not even have a Cabinet in place. “It should not look like as the decision was taken arbitrarily,” the judges added.

The court said private organisations wanting to celebrate the event must be given permission, News18 reported. The judges directed the government to take precautions to ensure such celebrations are held in a peaceful and harmonious manner.

The petitioners sought to know why Tipu Jayanti was singled out, pointing out that the birth anniversaries of other leaders were being celebrated by the government.

Advocate Prabhuling K Navadagi told the court that the decision was taken at an administrative level. “If the petitioners want to celebrate it, nothing prevents them from doing so,” he added.

Last month, Yediyurappa had announced that his government would remove all references to Tipu Sultan from school textbooks. “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,” he added.

Tipu Sultan has been at the centre of a political storm in recent years. He died fighting the British in 1799. While the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) maintain that the Muslim ruler was a patriot who fought against the British, the BJP sees him as a tyrant who victimised his Hindu subjects.

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