A day after the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) accepted a proposal to rename Aurangzeb Road in Central Delhi to Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road, those opposing the move have started an online petition.
Comparing the decision to rename the road to the 1992 demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the petitioner, Yousuf Saeed stated, “To many of us, this renaming is symbolically as incorrect and unfortunate as the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, since that was also done on ‘public demand’ and to ‘correct the wrongs of history’.” Saeed is an independent film-maker and researcher based in Delhi.
Addressed to the Prime Minister, the Delhi chief minister, and the NDMC chairperson, Saeed argues that decision-makers are reacting to popular demands without keeping historical facts in mind.
The petition, which garnered 250 signatures within 12 hours of being uploaded, asks whether any scholar was consulted before the road was renamed. It also asks whether any public debate took place to decide the pros and cons of the same.
East Delhi MP Maheish Girri had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rename the road in memory of the late President. Girri had argued that Kalam is a “better example of love and generosity” and that the road be renamed after him, instead of immortalising Aurangzeb’s cruelty.
“Do we want our future generations to remember that the name of one ‘bad’ Muslim was replaced by a ‘good’ Muslim? Is that the kind of history we want to propagate in this country,” reads the petition, while making the appeal that a new road or institution be named after Dr Kalam and the name of Aurangzeb Road be left unchanged.
In another petition, Citizens For Democracy has also termed the renaming of the road as “totally wrong”. It stated that “the decision taken by the NDMC is totally illegal, arbitrary, malafide, unjustified and void…”