The Idgah Maidan in Karnataka’s Hubballi, which was recently at the centre of a controversy over the celebration of Ganesh Utsav, is back in focus after the AIMIM and Samata Sainik Dala approached the municipal corporation seeking permission to celebrate Tipu Jayanti on November 10.
AIMIM Dharwad district joint secretary Vijay M Guntral told The Indian Express since the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) owns the land, it can allow them to celebrate Tipu Jayanti as well. “We are requesting them legally to allow us to celebrate Tipu Jayanti who fought against the British and is a warrior we need to be proud of,” he added.
However, several right-wing outfits have opposed the decision of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Samata Sainik Dala and claimed that Tipu Sultan killed people including Hindus and was against the Kannada language. Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik said, “The court has allowed to perform namaz twice a year and we do not have a problem with that. We will not allow the celebration of a person (Tipu Sultan). It will lead to violence.”
Tipu Sultan, a 17th-century ruler of the Mysore kingdom, fought against the British and died in 1799. Rightwing Hindu outfits have in the past accused the ruler of being anti-Hindu and alleged that he killed several Hindus and also imposed the Persian language during his regime. Meanwhile, HDMC Commissioner Gopalkrishna B did not respond to calls and messages over the issue.
Idgah Maidan, also called Rani Chennamma Maidan, has been in the news in the past for violence over the property. On August 15, 1994, six people were killed during a protest led by BJP leader Uma Bharati who had tried to forcibly hoist the national flag on the Idgah grounds.
While there had been a tussle over the ownership of the land for decades, the court has ordered that the property belongs to the municipal corporation. Recently, Anjuman-E-Islam approached the Karnataka High Court after Hindu rightwing organisations planned to celebrate Independence Day on its premises. The HC had rejected the plea and ordered that HDMC, the owner of the land, can take a decision.
The government under Congress leader Siddaramaiah began Tipu Jayanti celebrations in 2016 but was marked by several protests by the BJP and also resulted in violence in a few parts of the state. In 2019, the B S Yediyurappa-led government had cancelled the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan. The Ganesha festival was celebrated in Hubballi’s Idgah Maidan for the first time this year.