Says setting up such a university will divide society

Minister for Higher Education C.T. Ravi reiterated in Mangalore on Sunday that the government will not allow setting up of any minority university in the State.

He told presspersons that setting up of such a university would only divide society. “We will oppose any move to set up a minority university in the State whether in power or not,” Mr. Ravi said.

The Minister said that if the Union government wanted to set up a central university it could do so. The State government would provide land for it. The central university could be named after the former President A.P.J. Abul Kalam, social reformer, and saint Santha Shishunala Sharief or Abul Hameed, an Army officer who led the Indian Army in the war against Bangladesh in 1971 or the late music legend Bismillah Khan. The State government welcomed the idea. But it opposed opening a minority university named after Tipu Sultan or naming a Central university after Tipu Sultan.

Mr. Ravi said that for some people Tipu Sultan was a hero while for others he was a villain. The BJP and the State government believed that Tipu Sultan was not a patriot. He fought the British to save his kingdom. Portuguese, Dutch, and French rulers who had ruled India too had fought against British. But they could not be called patriots.

The Minister said that historians such as B.L. Rice, Hayavadana Rao, and K.N. Panikkar had recorded that Tipu Sultan had destroyed temples and indulged in religious conversion. The State government could not accept naming a university after such a person.

He said the government should appoint a committee headed either by a judge of the Supreme Court or a retired judge of the Supreme Court to find out whether the events recorded by the historians were true. There should be a public debate on whether Tipu Sultan was a patriot.

Mr. Ravi parried a question on whether a university could be named after Tipu Sultan if the committee concluded that he was a patriot.