Union minister Anantkumar Hegde on Friday stirred a controversy after he asked not to be invited for the celebrations around Tipu Sultan Jayanti. In a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister’s Secretariat and Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship asked them not to include his name on the list of invitees for the programmes for Tipu Jayanti to be held 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 on Twitter on Friday. Read | Who is Anant Kumar Hegde?
While Hegde got support from some quarters, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the letter was not needed since he could 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,” the Chief Minister told reporters while emphasising that the Tipu Sultan was a “freedom fighter” who fought four wars against the British.
If the whole incident gives a sense of déjà vu, it is probably because a similar controversy had erupted last year. As an MP of Uttara Kannada, Hegde had slammed the state government for celebrating Tipu Jayanti despite opposition from some sections of the society. ALSO READ | The competing narratives of Tipu: What they say, and why
Reiterating the claim that Tipu Sultan was “against Kannada language and was anti-Hindu”, Hegde also threatened to disrupt celebrations in Uttara Kannada district, for which he was later arrested, reported PTI. The Karnataka BJP unit, which has been opposing Tipu Jayanti celebrations, had criticised the Karnataka government’s decision to celebrate the day branding the act as “minority appeasement”.