The Textbook Committee of the Education Department will take a final call on removing Tipu Sultan from school textbooks, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said on Thursday, while asserting that there was no change in the BJP’s stand on the erstwhile Mysuru ruler.
Meanwhile, the Congress broke its silence about the issue and launched a fresh salvo on the ruling BJP. Old images of Yediyurappa and other BJP leaders celebrating Tipu came to haunt the saffron party, as it was circulated in social media and private messaging groups.
Yediyurappa told reporters that he held discussions with Primary and Secondary Education minister S Suresh Kumar regarding the controversy. "After the social science textbook committee submits a report, we will take a call on the issue," he said.
Kumar said that he had sought a report from the Karnataka Textbook Society. "I have not instructed the society to invite any particular person for the meeting. As the issue has been raised by the people of Kodagu, it is our responsibility to look into their concerns," he said.
Reacting to the objection raised by Prof Baraguru Ramachandrappa who headed the textbook revision committee during the Siddaramaiah government, Kumar said he respected Ramachandrappa's work. "However, since the inclusion of Tipu in lessons has turned into a controversy, we need to discuss it and take a decision," he added.
Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya welcomed the decision of the state to withdraw references to Tipu from textbooks. "Children were taught lies about Tipu. We will have to teach them the truth now."
Criticising the government, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the saffron party was using "a twisted ploy" to rewrite history by dropping references to Tipu from textbooks. "One has to rewrite the country’s history of over 100 years to remove all references to Tipu," he said.
Sources, however, said the Congress is a divided house on Tipu Sultan. Apparently, the previous Congress government's decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanti as an annual event - the Yediyurappa government has cancelled the event - did not bring any electoral benefit to the party. "Muslims themselves are divided on this, because they do not believe in idolising a person," a Congress leader said.