BJP warns against 'tormentor of Hindus' Tipu Sultan's statue in Andhra Pradesh

BJP leader Vishnuvardhan accused the YSRCP of indulging in vote bank politics at the cost of communal harmony
Last Updated : 18 June 2021, 15:57 IST

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A row has erupted in Andhra Pradesh over Tipu Sultan, with a statue of the erstwhile Mysore ruler planned to be erected in Proddatur town in Kadapa district.

The desire of the Muslim community in Proddatur is backed by YSRCP MLA Rachamallu Siva Prasad Reddy, while the attempt is met with opposition from the locals and the state BJP leaders.

Projecting Tipu as a tormentor of Hindus, the AP BJP leaders have warned of agitation and demolition of the structure, if built.

On Friday, police took BJP state general secretary Vishnuvardhan Reddy and others into custody, when they went to protest at the site at the Jinnah Road circle.

Vishnuvardhan accused the YSRCP of indulging in vote bank politics at the cost of communal harmony.

The Mysore ruler of the 18th century has become a controversial figure lately and especially in Karnataka, with the right-wing groups accusing him of religious hatred and killings, persecution of Hindus and Christians.

Several Rayalaseema towns in Kurnool, Anantapuram, Kadapa, and Chittoor districts have a considerable presence of Muslims. It is said that Tipu had married the daughter of the Kadapa Nawab.

Speaking to DH, YSRCP MLA Rachamallu said he was previously unaware of the controversy surrounding Tipu. “But if he is really the tyrant and Hindu oppressor, why is the BJP government in Karnataka not pulling down Tipu's statues in Bengaluru and other places?” Reddy questioned.

The MLA, a graduate in history, however, admitted that there are contradictory versions about Tipu.

“If it can be proved that Tipu committed such religious atrocities I will express regret and disassociate from the project,” Rachamallu, who attended the foundation ceremony earlier this week, said.

According to the ruling party legislator, the local Muslims approached him with the statue proposal “as there are idols installed by other communities like that of Ambedkar, Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy.”

Uyyalawada is a Rayalaseema chieftain who had rebelled against the British in the 1840s and was executed in 1847. Tipu fought the British in the Anglo-Mysore wars and was killed in 1799.

The BJP said Tipu's image could cause communal tensions and is instead suggesting former president APJ Abdul Kalam statue in the town centre, a proposal supported by other communities of the town known for its gold business.

“We are not in favour of a statue of Tipu, who has reportedly butchered Hindus. We will raise our objections if the work advances,” said Busetty Rammohan, vice-president, AP gold and diamonds merchants association.

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Published 18 June 2021, 14:52 IST

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