Road in Ker­ala ‘re­named’ Gaza Street

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - HT Cor­re­spon­dent letters@hindustantimes.com

A Gaza Strip in the heart of Kasargod district? Young­sters in a north Ker­ala mu­nic­i­pal­ity zone have been ac­cused of swap­ping sign­boards to “re­name” Thu­ruthi Street as Gaza Street af­ter the con­tentious strip of land un­der Pales­tinian rule.

In­tel­li­gence agen­cies are not amused, de­spite claims that the stretch has been re­named in sol­i­dar­ity with those “tar­geted” by Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties. The rea­son? The street is lo­cated near Padanna vil­lage, which al­legedly wit­nessed 22 young­sters troop­ing off to join the Is­lamic State’s mil­i­tant army in re­cent times.

Mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties said they haven’t been in­formed about the street be­ing re­named, de­spite Kasargod district pan­chayat pres­i­dent AGC Basheer’s re­ported pres­ence at the cer­e­mony. Be­fathima Ibrahim, chair­per­son of the civic body, said she would look into the mat­ter and rec­tify the prob­lem at the ear­li­est.

A Mus­lim League leader from the district claimed this was no se­ri­ous mat­ter.

“One needn’t read too much into a prank com­mit­ted by some young­sters of the area. Un­like Ut­tar Pradesh, we don’t plan to change place names. One has to take it sport­ingly,” he quipped, cit­ing a beach named af­ter Sad­dam Hus­sein in Kozhikode and another road bear­ing Libyan leader Muam­mar Gadaffi’s name in Malap­pu­ram to drive home his point.

BJP lead­ers, how­ever, be­lieve this de­vel­op­ment is part of a sys­tem­atic plan to “al­ter the char­ac­ter” of the com­mu­nally sen­si­tive district. “There is noth­ing new about this. There have been many other at­tempts of the kind in Kasargod,” said K Sreekanth, the party’s district pres­i­dent.

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