Changing names of places and streets is not new to the BJP government. In the NCR region alone, Gurgaon was changed to Gurugram, Aurangzeb Road to A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Road and Race Course Road to Lok Kalyan Marg. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which is also controlled by the central government besides the Delhi government, has approved the re-naming of Teen Murti Marg as well as Teen Murti Chowk in Delhi to Teen Murti Haifa Marg and Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, respectively.
The name change was to happen before Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July this year. However, a statement by NDMC informed that the renaming has been currently deferred “due to shortage of time and protests by street vendors over some other issue outside NDMC office.”
NDMC Vice Chairman Karan Singh Tanwar has said “These three statues (the teen murtis) depict the three Indian Regiments, which sacrificed their life and contributed to the liberation of Haifa from Muslim Turks.”
The battle of Haifa was not fought for “liberation of Haifa from Muslim Turks” as the RSS History (re)Writers are claiming. The battle was fought between the British Empire, against the Ottoman Empire, the German Empire and the Austria-Hungary. Since the British were the colonisers, they took regiments from the princely states of Jodhpur, Mysore and Hyderabad. The Britishers used the Indian soldiers into what was essentially a colonial war.
Several right-wing organisations, including the RSS, have been demanding the renaming of the two for some time now. Senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar (who has recently been granted clean chit by the NIA, which is yet to be accepted by the court, for the Malegaon blast case) had demanded in 2015 that the government acknowledge the role played by the three regiments of the British Indian Army in the Battle of Haifa in 1918.
It is important to remember that the Teen Murti chowk is in memory of the soldiers who participated in the imperial war of British. It was built in the year 1922. This renaming is nothing but a ploy by RSS to give a communal angle to the issue and to claim that the 1918 war was fought for the cause of Israel state.
This name change is underway at a time when 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners are on hunger strike against Israel’s illegal system of arbitrary mass arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners for more than 10 days now.
Notably, Modi is the first Indian Prime minister to officially visit Israel. Confirming BJP's pro- Israeli position, when a PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) office was set up in Delhi in 1975, (with full diplomatic relations established in March 1980), Atal Bihari Vajpayee had led a protest against its formation.
This name change, besides being communal in nature, is nothing but one authoritarian right-wing state (Indian state) patting the back of another authoritative right-wing state (Israeli state).