The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants the names of roads in the national capital that "symbolise Muslim slavery" to be renamed. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta took to Twitter to inform that he has written to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and wants Tughlaq Road, Akbar Road, Aurangzeb Lane, Humayun Road, and Shahjahan Road to be renamed.
This comes on a day when the Delhi police detained 44 members of right-wing organisations United Hindu Front (UHF) and Rashtravadi Shiv Sena who were chanting Hanuman Chalisa outside Qutub Minar and demanded that the centuries-old minaret be renamed 'Vishnu Stambh'.
According to Gupta, Tughlaq Road should be renamed Guru Gobind Singh Marg, Akbar Road should be called Maharana Pratap Road, Aurangzeb Lane should be Abdul Kalam Lane, Humayun Road should be Maharshi Valmiki Road, and Shahjahan Road should be named after General Bipin Rawat.
The Congress party's headquarters is at 24, Akbar Road. Gupta also suggested that Babar Lane should be renamed after freedom fighter Khudiram Bose.
How the Process Works
A panel of the NDMC can only approve such changes. Requests are made before the NDMC council, a 13-member body headed by the chairperson.
The civic body has jurisdiction over roads in central Delhi, where the residences of the president and prime minister, among others, and top government offices are present.
As per rules, renaming requests need to take into account the history, sentiment, and whether a personality needs to be acknowledged in that manner, reported NDTV. However, NDMC's rules assert that renaming is an exception.
BJP on a Renaming Spree
A renaming spree has been witnessed in Delhi and BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh ever since the BJP came to power in 2014. In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road.
On 27 April, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Delhi unit said that they have changed the name of South Delhi district’s Mohammadpur village to Madhavpuram along with some locals, as the Aam Aadmi Party-led state government had not cleared their proposal for the renaming.
In 2016, the Race Course Road was renamed as Lok Kalyan Marg.
This renaming has been met with criticism by historians who see it as an attempt to tinker with or erase history. However, for the BJP, the activity means doing away with symbols of slavery under the Mughal and colonial rule and restoring national pride.
Even under the Congress government, Delhi's iconic Connaught Place was renamed "Rajiv Chowk". The move saw massive criticism of the "sycophantic" recommendation by a party leader. However, the new name never really caught on.
(With inputs from NDTV.)