The Telegraph
Wednesday , January 23 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Protest over road renaming

Jan. 22: Controversy erupted over renaming the Guwahati-Garbhanga road, from Serab Bhati to Lokhra Chariali, after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, as around 300 residents today blocked the busy stretch opposing the move.

The GMC in 2008 suggested that the 5km road be named after Bose and put up a notice on Sunday following demands from Xanskritik Xamaj, an organisation celebrating the birth anniversary of the freedom fighter. But those who staged the protest today opposed the move and demanded either retaining the original name or renaming it after Vaishnavite saint Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev.

“The GMC had taken the decision without giving us an opportunity to give our views and they published a notice in one newspaper only. We have equal respect for Subhas Chandra Bose but we are against naming this road after him as locals have not been consulted before taking the decision,” Bolen Das, one of the protesters, said.

The protesters, including women, blocked the busy road that affected traffic for about two hours. The situation was brought under control after police and district administration officials reached the spot.

Xanskritik Xamaj will celebrate the 117th birth anniversary of Netaji tomorrow and will unveil a life-sized statue.

Controversy erupted after unidentified people defaced a signboard, which renamed the road as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road, by slathering black paint. This created discontent among many, who said it was showing disrespect to Netaji.

“This is very unfortunate. How can we disrespect Netaji, whose contributions to the freedom struggle are respected by people across the country? Many roads in the city had original names and they were renamed in the course of time. GNB Road was earlier known as Noonmati Road, A.K. Azad Road was Rehabari Road, our stadium at Ulubari was named after Jawaharlal Nehru, the traffic rotary at Jalukbari was named Rajiv Chowk. If we can accept these, why can’t we rename the Guwahati-Garbhanga Road after Netaji?” senior citizen and ex-MLA Ajoy Dutta asked.

Dutta said even chief minister Tarun Gogoi, during Netaji’s birth anniversary celebrations in 2009, had publicly announced renaming the road and nobody raised any objection. The protesters yesterday submitted a memorandum to Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri opposing the move by the GMC. They said they would even move court in this regard.