Tipu clan guns for minister
Bangalore: Tipu Sultan's descendants have sought legal action against a central minister who has refused to attend the 18th-century ruler's birth anniversary celebrations next month saying they glorified a person known as a "brutal killer" and "mass rapist".
Syed Mansoor Ali, a city-based businessman who has married a seventh-generation descendant of the ruler of Mysore, met state home minister Ramalinga Reddy on Tuesday to file a complaint against Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde.
Hegde, the junior minister for skill development and entrepreneurship, is not the Ananth Kumar who defeated Nandan Nilekani in the general election and is a cabinet minister at the Centre.
"I have filed a complaint on behalf of the entire Tipu clan spread over Bangalore, Calcutta and overseas, and requested the government to act against the minister who called Tipu a mass murderer and rapist," Ali told The Telegraph.
He said it was "appalling" how a central minister could stoop so low to gain political mileage by insulting a ruler lauded for his tolerance of all religions.
Hegde had urged the Congress-led Karnataka government not to include his name in the invitations for Tipu Jayanti to be observed on November 10.
In a tweet later, the BJP leader had said it was a "shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist".
Ali said his family in Calcutta would also file a criminal defamation case in Calcutta High Court. "It's fine with us if they want to opt out of the Tipu Jayanti events. But it is insulting to call our forefather a murderer and rapist," Ali said.
"The (home) minister has promised action but said he needed to check with the chief minister," Ali, president of the Tehrik-e-Khudadaad, an organisation managed by Tipu's direct descendants, said.
Reddy could not be reached for comment.
Chief minister P.C. Siddaramaiah had said the government would go with the protocol of printing the names of elected representatives in the invitations, even if they didn't want to attend.
To this, Hegde had tweeted that if protocol was the issue, he would rather attend the event "to narrate the tyrannical history of the mass marauder in detail".
Ali said the BJP was trying to gain political mileage. "But we (Tipu Sultan's family) are the ones who suffer the indignity as our forefather is being called all kinds of names when history has established him as a truly secular leader who helped build temples and churches."
People in Coorg, Chitradurga and Mangalore in Karnataka and the Malabar region of Kerala often accuse Tipu's regime of atrocities against Hindus and Christians.
But Ali says Tipu's army had also killed thousands of Muslim soldiers in various battles in the region. "Tipu had funded construction of temples and a famous church in Srirangapatna (his capital)," he said. "So why aren't the BJP leaders talking about that?"