On day 3 of his visit to Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay homage to Indian soldiers who fought in the World War I in Haifa.
However, a proposal mooted by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) more than two months ago to rename a prominent road in Lutyens Delhi after the Israeli city is still in limbo.
In April, the NDMC proposed that Teen Murti Marg and Teen Murti Chowk be renamed Haifa ahead of Modi's visit to Israel, the first by an Indian prime minister.
No final call has been taken on the proposal yet. It was deferred in the April meeting and has not been taken up since then. We are not sure whether it will be scrapped totally or reconsidered later.Karan Singh Tanwar, Vice Chairman, NDMC told PTI
Haifa’s Place in Indo-Israeli History
Haifa holds significance in both Indian and Israeli history books as hundreds of Indian soldiers – part of the Allied forces – sacrificed their lives to liberate the city in 1918 during the First World War. As per historical records, soldiers from the Indian 15th Imperial Service Brigade fought a gruelling battle against the forces of the Ottoman Empire in the region. The battle led to the deaths of nearly 900 Indian soldiers who were cremated or buried in cemeteries across Israel.
In 2012, the Israeli authorities recognised the efforts of the brave soldiers after the municipality of Haifa went ahead with its decision to immortalise the sacrifices made by them.
The Haifa municipality through an official order decided to include stories of the soldiers in liberating the coastal city during the First World War in the school curriculum.
The Indian army also commemorates 23 September every year as Haifa Day, to pay its respects to the brave Indian soldiers, while residents of the Israeli city also celebrate Haifa Day with a series of cultural programmes during the week.
'Teen Murti Nothing to Do With Gandhi’
In a meeting on 24 April, some council members had claimed the proposal had been passed but the civic body chairman, Naresh Kumar, had announced hours later that the issue was deferred.
The proposal has not been taken up in any council meeting since then.
Demands to rename Teen Murti Road and Chowk have been made over the past few years by different organisations, including the RSS.
Senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar had said in 2015 that the government should acknowledge the role played by the three regiments of the Indian Army in the Battle of Haifa in 1918.
According to the Ministry of Culture, a "wrong impression" has been built about the Teen Murti Chowk that it has something to do with Mahatma Gandhi.
The Teen Murti Chowk was named to mark the role of the three cavalry regiments. But no one knows this today. The moment people think of the Teen Murti, they think of Gandhiji’s monkeys. This is a wrong impression that needs to be corrected.Ministry of Culture
Teen Murti Bhavan, the residence of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and now a museum, is at the Teen Murti crossing.
(With agency inputs.)
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