Jaipur: After changing Muslim sounding names of two villages, Vasundhara Raje government is now ready for more. he government claimed that Hindu residents of these villages have complained of facing problem in finding match for their children because of Muslim names of their villages. After getting approval from the Central government the state government recently changed names of villages – Miyon ka Bara to Mahesh Nagar in Barmer district, Ismailpur to Pichanva Khurd in Jhunjhunu district and Salemabad to Srinimbark Teerth in Ajmer district. Similarly, Narpada in Jalore was renamed Narpura.

But, with Assembly elections on the horizon, the BJP government is eager to cash in on majority’s sentiments. Hence, there is proposal to rechristen Mohammedpura in Medi ka Kheda; Nawabpura will be called Nayi Sarthal, Rampur-Azampur would be converted into Sitaramji Kheda and Mandafia to Sanwala ji. All these villages are in Chittorgarh. While, the state government claimed that locals had approached it for a change of the name as they faced problems for their children’s marriage prospects; the critics view it ruling BJP’s attempt to take politics of polarisation to a new level.

According to revenue minister, Amraram, the proposal for name change came from the gram panchayat and it was done after following a due process. After verification from the state government the proposal is sent to the Central government and only after it gets approved the process of name change begins. The villages whose names have been changed mostly have Hindu population. For example, Miyon ka Bara, which is now Mahesh Nagar, has four Muslim families in village population of 2,000 and Salemabad now Srnimbark Teerth has just one Muslim family.

However, critics point out timing of the decision and the fact that people had no problem for more than six decades. “This is just a poll gimmick of the BJP, which always seek emotive issues to further its communal agenda. A Muslim name with majority Hindu population was reflective of tolerance and social harmony. The government is setting a bad precedent,” said social worker Ashfaq Kayamkhani.

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