Several youths in a north Kerala Municipality have come under the scanner for allegedly renaming signboards — from Thuruthi Street to Gaza Street– after the Gaza Strip, the piece of land in Palestinian rule that is the bone of contention between Palestine and Israel.
A report in Hindustan Times said there were claims that the street near Padannal village in Kasargod district was renamed allegedly in solidarity with those “targeted” by Israeli forces. There are reports of a number of youths from the district having allegedly joined the ISIS recently.
The report said the municipal authorities were unaware that signage at the street has been changed. It said the Kasargod district panchayat president AGC Basheer was reported to be present at the renaming ceremony.
The HT report quoted Befathima Ibrahim, chairperson of the civic body, as saying that she would rectify the problem at the earliest.
BJP district president K Sreekanth was quoted as saying: “There is nothing new about this. There have been many other attempts of this kind in Kasargod.”
The report cited a police official’s concerns of chances of such acts breeding discord among communities. “We are keeping an eye on such activities. Of late, many houses in north Kerala have put up residential nameplates in Arabic. Some have even been forced into doing this. Such activities will breed discord among various communities in the region,” the police official said.
Other places in the state have seen such renamings in the past as well. A beach in the state’s Malappuram district was renamed to Saddam Beach from Tipu Sultan Beach. The beach was renamed after the former Iraq president Saddam Hussein. It was apparently done in an act of solidarity after the 1991 Gulf War.