The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday questioned the state government's logic behind celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, observing he wasn't a freedom fighter but a monarch who fought to safeguard his interests.
"What is the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti? Tipu was not a freedom fighter, but a monarch who fought the opponents to safeguard his interests," Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, presiding over the division bench, observed.
Justice R B Budhihal is the other member of the bench.
The observation was made by the Chief Justice during a hearing on a Public Interest Litigation filed by South Kodagu-based K P Manjunatha, challenging government's move to celebrate Tipu Jayanti.
Justice Mukherjee also questioned the logic behind celebrating Tipu Jayanti amid fears of communal tension escalating in Kodagu district and other parts of the state.
He observed that last year's celebrations had resulted in a law-and-order situation after protesters resorted to violence.
However, public counsel M R Naik defended the celebrations, saying Tipu was a great warrior who fought against the British.
Countering the submissions, Sajan Poovaiah, counsel for the petitioner, said Tipu was a tyrant ruler who killed people belonging to many communities, including Kodavas, Konkanis and Christians.
The hearing will resume on Thursday.
The Congress government's decision to observe the birth anniversary of the 18th century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom has stirred a major controversy, with opinion sharply divided among intellectuals, academia and different communities and organisations.
Tipu Jayanti, slated to be celebrated across the state on November 10, is being observed since last year following a government decision, which had triggered a major row and caused violence in Kodagu district last November.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had stated recently it opposed the celebration and would stage protests against it as the ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom was a "religious bigot and a violent sultan".
The BJP has also expressed its strong opposition to 'Tipu Jayanti'.