Move to rename Haj Bhavan after Tipu triggers row

Naming row: The three-storeyed Haj Bhavan in Hegde Nagar in north Bengaluru has 100 rooms, set up for Haj pilgrims. It was been hailed as the first of its kind in the country when it was inaugurated in 2016. DH File Photo

A fresh controversy has erupted over erstwhile Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan. The state government is considering a proposal to rename the Haj Bhavan in Bengaluru as Hazrat Tipu Sultan Haj Ghar.

The Rs 87-crore three-storeyed Haj Bhavan in Hegde Nagar, off Thanisandra road, in north Bengaluru has 100 rooms, set up for Haj pilgrims. It was hailed as the first of its kind in the country when it was inaugurated in 2016.

“At the time of its inauguration, it was hurriedly named Haj Bhavan. Back then itself there were demands from the community for it to be named Hazrat Tipu Sultan Haj Ghar,” Minorities Welfare and Haj Minister B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan said. “During my review of the Haj department recently, I received many petitions from Ulemas (religious scholars) to rename the Haj Bhavan.”

Khan said he would take a decision after discussing it with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

The previous Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah had courted controversy by celebrating Tipu Jayanti to mark the ruler’s birth.

The BJP, which views Tipu Sultan as a “tyrant who mass-murdered Hindus” has red-flagged the proposal. Senior BJP leader R Ashoka pointed out that the Haj Bhavan was sanctioned when it BJP in power and former chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda laid its foundation stone. “Tipu Sultan is controversial. He wasn’t a freedom fighter. He slaughtered Hindus and was anti-Kannada. The Haj Bhavan wasn’t built for Tipu Sultan fans,” he said.

Ashoka accused the Congress-JD(S) of trying to appease the minorities by naming the building after Tipu Sultan. “Why can’t it be named after former President the late A P J Abdul Kalam or Kannada poet K S Nissar Ahmed,” he asked.

BJP state general secretary and MP Shobha Karnadlaje told reporters that the party would launch state-wide agitation if the government went ahead with the move.

Khan said there was no need for anybody to protest as the Haj Bhavan was an independent body and its is well within its rights to take a call on the issue. “Tipu Jayanti was a different issue. Opposition will be understandable if we are renaming an airport, railway station, road or a park. But this is an independent body,” the minister said.

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Move to rename Haj Bhavan after Tipu triggers row

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