The BJP along with a few other right-wing organisations like the Bajrang Dal, organised a protest ahead of the inauguration of the sports facility and a park in Malvani in Mumbai in the name of Tipu Sultan, the 18th-Century ruler of Mysuru. Hundreds of right-wing workers were seen deflating tires of public buses and blocking a road in the area.
The Shiv Sena says no such proposal has been discussed or passed. The BJP is raising the issue to try and goad the Shiv Sena into a confrontation over the issue, but the Sena hasn’t done so yet. A local Sena leader said the BJP is manufacturing issues ahead of BMC elections.
The ground is locally referred to as the Tipu Sultan ground and it was recently renovated, and a sports facility was developed. A board with the same name can be seen at the venue of the inauguration.
The inauguration — which happened today in Malvani, located in suburban Malad — in the presence of Aslam Shaikh, the Congress leader and guardian minister of Mumbai in his constituency, has sparked controversy.
Mr Shaikh has told reporters the name is a non-issue. “There was no conflict on the name of Tipu Sultan in the last 70 years. Today, the BJP has sent its goons to defame the country and will not let the country develop by creating ruckus over naming projects. We don’t need to get into controversy over nomenclatures,” he told reporters.
Aditya Thackeray, Guardian Minister for Mumbai suburbs, told reporters, “No formal proposals have been discussed on this issue. Once there is a formal proposal the BMC will decide on the issue.”
Tipu Sultan’s name became controversial in his native Karnataka after the state’s erstwhile Congress-led government decided to celebrate his birth anniversary.
With the right-wing groups dubbing the 18th Century ruler a brutal king who persecuted Hindus and Christians, and spearheading the campaign to reverse the decision, the matter split the state down the middle since. Coorg even witnessed violent protests in which two persons died.
In the run up to the elections in 2018, leader after leader of the BJP, starting with party chief Amit Shah, used Tipu Sultan Jayanthi to accuse the government of being anti-Hindu.
In 2020, there was a controversial proposal to drop chapters on Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali, from social science textbooks, which was later put on hold by the state government.
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