BJP protests Tipu Sultan’s name for Park, Sena says nothing decided

Hundreds of right-wing workers were seen deflating public bus tires and blocking a road

Mumbai:

The BJP along with a few other right-wing organizations like the Bajrang Dal, staged a protest ahead of the inauguration of the sports facility and a park at Malvani in Mumbai on behalf of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysuru in the 18th century. Hundreds of right-wing workers were seen deflating public bus tires and blocking a road in the area.

The Shiv Sena says that no such proposal was discussed or adopted. The BJP is raising the issue to try to incite the Shiv Sena to a confrontation over the issue, but the Sena has yet to do so. A local Sena leader said the BJP was fabricating problems ahead of the BMC elections.

The ground is locally called the Tipu Sultan ground and it has recently been renovated and a sports facility has been developed. A sign bearing the same name can be seen at the place of the inauguration.

The inauguration, which took place today in Malvani, a suburb of Malad, in the presence of Aslam Shaikh, the Congress leader and guardian minister of Mumbai in his constituency, sparked controversy.

Mr Shaikh told reporters that the name was not an issue. “There has been no dispute over the name of Tipu Sultan in the past 70 years. Today BJP has sent its henchmen to defame the country and will not let the country develop by creating heckling over naming projects. We don’t need to get into the nomenclature controversy,” he told reporters.

Aditya Thackeray, the Guardian’s minister for Mumbai suburbs, told reporters: “No formal proposal has been discussed on this matter. Once there is a formal proposal, the BMC will decide the matter.”

Tipu Sultan’s name became controversial in his native Karnataka after the former state Congress-led government decided to celebrate his birthday.

While right-wing groups brand the 18th century ruler a brutal king who persecuted Hindus and Christians and lead the campaign to overturn the ruling, the case has since split the state in two. Coorg even witnessed violent protests in which two people died.

As the 2018 elections approached, BJP leaders starting with party leader Amit Shah used Tipu Sultan Jayanthi to accuse the government of being anti-Hindu.

In 2020, there was a controversial proposal to remove chapters on Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali from social science textbooks, which was later suspended by the state government.

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