The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday protested the 'naming' of a renovated garden in Mumbai after Tipu Sultan, claiming that the 18th century Mysore ruler persecuted Hindus and his name was unacceptable for a public facility.
But Maharashtra minister Aslam Shaikh who inaugurated new facilities at the garden in Malvani area stated that it always bore the name of Tipu Sultan, and there was no fresh nomenclature.
As Shaikh, a Congress leader and guardian minister of Mumbai City, attended the event, workers of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Bajarang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad staged a protest at the venue, demanding a renaming.
Police detained some of the protesters before the event, officials said.
Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, Tipu Sultan is historically known for committing atrocities against the Hindus in his state.
"The BJP will never accept the honouring of such personalities. The decision to name the garden after Tipu Sultan should be revoked," he said.
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, who is guardian minister for the Mumbai suburban district in which Malvani is located, told reporters that no such decision had been taken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The Mumbai civic body is controlled by the Shiv Sena. It is the BMC's prerogative to name a garden. As per my information, no decision has been taken to name the Malvani garden after Tipu Sultan, he said.
Speaking during the event, minister Aslam Shaikh said, The garden is named thus (after Tipu Sultan) for the last 15 years, but nobody objected to it till now. I even know a BJP MLA who is pushing for repairs of a road in the area which is named after Tipu.
He conveniently keeps mum over it as he wants votes. As part of the renovation of the existing garden, tennis and badminton courts have been built and they are open to all irrespective of religion or caste, he added.
Asked about Aaditya Thackeray's comment, Shaikh told reporters that he was there to inaugurate new facilities and not for naming the garden.