The descendants of Tipu Sultan in Kolkata are contemplating legal action against Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde of Karnataka who called the 18th century ruler of Mysore a “mass rapist” and a “brutal killer” in a tweet on Friday. The descendants said they are deeply pained by the statement and the controversy.
Hegde, the Union Minister of State for Skill Development, made the comment when he asked not to be invited for celebrations on Tipu Sultan Jayanti.
In a letter to the Karnataka Chief Minister’s Secretariat and Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner, the minister asked them not to include his name on the list of invitees for the programmes on November 10. “(I have) conveyed (to) Karnataka government not to invite me to shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist,” Hegde wrote.
Bakhtiar Ali, one of the sixth-generation descendants of Prince Mooniruddin who was one of Tipu’s sons, said: “I will hold a meeting with all members of my family. We are contemplating legal action against Hegde for his unfounded comments against Tipu Sultan. I was aghast to hear it last night. He was such a revered ruler. I do not know on what basis he has levelled such allegations and tarnished the image of the ruler. He was a national hero and the Tiger of Mysore.”
Prince Mooniruddin and Prince Golam Muhammed were two of Tipu’s sons who were deported to Kolkata by the British. Bakhtiar is also an advocate in a Kolkata court.
“Hegde should immediately tender an unconditional apology. We are shocked and hurt by his comments. Tipu Sultan is known for his nationalism,” said Shahid Alam, another descendant of Tipu Sultan.
Alam is also a co-trustee of wakf estate of Prince Golam Mohammed. “Earlier, too, a section of people tried to defame him. After the new government was elected at the Centre, the saffron (party) once again is trying to malign (him). Historians have made it clear what a noble king he was,” Alam added.
While Hegde got support from BJP leaders, who too announced that they would not attend the programme, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the letter was not needed since he could neither accept or reject the invitation.
“As part of government, he shouldn’t have written it. The invitation will be sent out to all central and state leaders. It is up to them to accept or reject (it),” the Chief Minister told reporters. He said Tipu Sultan was a “freedom fighter” who battled against the British.