The Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) on Wednesday granted permission to the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to celebrate Tipu Jayanti at the controversial Idgah Maidan in Hubballi town.
The civic authority also granted permission for celebrations of other festivals subject to several regulations and payment of ₹10,000 to the corporation.
HDMC Commissioner D Gopalkrishna said the decision was taken after considering all parameters. “It is corporation land. The High Court had also upheld the decision granting permission to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Since it is the corporation’s land, we decided to grant permission to all the groups.”
“It has to be an executive order and we must give them permission to hold events. No one can hold any event without our signature. It should all be in writing and they must get a clearance from the police as well. They will be granted permission only then,” Gopalkrishna added.
Mayor Iresh Anchatgeri said that while some opposition leaders objected to the corporation’s decision, they did not want to differentiate between people of different faiths.
“Memorandums were submitted to the municipal corporation seeking permission to celebrate Tipu Jayanti, Kanaka Jayanti and Onake Obavva Jayanti…In the interest of everyone, we have decided to allow Tipu Jayanti and other celebrations with some conditions,” Anchatgeri said.
“If more than one group approaches the corporation, permission will be given to all of them provided they fulfil all the conditions, and follow all rules and regulations. We don’t want to give out a wrong message by prioritising any one group. This is a public property,” Anchatgeri added.
AIMIM and some Dalit organisations had earlier approached the municipal corporation seeking permission to celebrate Tipu Jayanti at the Idgah Maidan.
However, several right-wing pro-Hindu organisations opposed the celebration claiming that 18th Century ruler Tipu Sultan had committed atrocities against Hindus and was against the Kannada language.
One of the protesting groups, the Sri Ram Sene, had also submitted a memorandum seeking permission to celebrate Kanakadasa Jayanti on the ground.
On Tuesday, several other organisations also approached the municipal corporation seeking permission to celebrate Holi, Onake Obavva Jayanti and to install a statue of Rathi Manmatha at the site.
In August this year, the Karnataka high court had allowed Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at the Idgah Maidan saying was no dispute regarding the ownership of the land.
It had also turned down a petition filed by Anjuman-e-Islam, after Hindu right-wing organisations planned to celebrate Independence Day on the premises.
In a late night order, the high court said that the property belongs to the municipal corporation and it can decide on the issue. “This (Idgah Maidan) belongs to the corporation and it can do what it considers appropriate,” the court said.
Noting that the Muslims hold their prayers twice a year on these grounds, the Court also said that prayers during Ramzan and Bakri Eid cannot be interfered with.