Bengaluru: Defending his government's decision celebrate the birth anniversary of the 18th century legendary king Tipu Sultan, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday termed opposition to it as a "conspiracy" by RSS and other communal forces to disturb harmony in society.
Several organisations and individuals have opposed the state government's move to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti on November 10, with a few threatening to disrupt the first- ever such government celebration.
"The opposition (to Tipu Jayanti) is an attempt by communal forces; ...Tipu Sultan was secular, he fought against British in three wars, in a sense our freedom struggle began with Mysore wars- between English and Tipu," Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said "he (Tipu) being called a fanatic or claims that he converted Hindus is baseless. He didn't do any such thing, instead he contributed to Sringeri Mutt, Nanjanagudu and Ranganatha Swami Temples. Only a secular person can do it. So, government has decided to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti."
Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore, who was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna against the British forces.
Stating that Opposition is raising such issues without having any other issue to confront the government, Siddaramaiah said "Tipu Sultan Jayanti should have been celebrated by government long ago, it has got delayed. This is a conspiracy by RSS and other communal forces. It is an attempt to disturb harmony in society."
Calling Tippu as "the most intolerant ruler," RSS had yesterday said it would lend its support to protests against event.
"Majority of the people are opposed to it - Tipu was the ruler of Mysore - it's okay, but at the same time he was the most intolerant king. It has been recorded by history, not by RSS. On his sword it is clearly mentioned, it is meant to kill kafirs," Kshetreeya Sanghachalak of RSS for Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, V Nagaraj had said.
Veteran Kannada writer, researcher and historian M Chidananda Murthy said government's move to celebrate Tippu Jayanti has to be condemned.
Murthy had earlier opposed the proposal to name a university in Srirangapatna after Tippu Sultan, calling him "anti-Hindu, anti-Kannada."