NEW DELHI/GUWAHATI, Dec 10: In a country where Bombay has been renamed as Mumbai, Calcutta as Kolkata and Madras as Chennai in order to respect the local sentiment, the very ground shown by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for rejecting the Assam Government’s plea to it for renaming Silchar Railway Station as “Bhasha Shwahid Railway Station” cannot be taken without a pinch of salt by many in Assam, especially in the Barak Valley districts that had to bear the brunt of the language movement that claimed the lives of as many as 11 people.
In its letter sent to Joint Secretary of Political (A) Department of Assam SK Roy on November 27 this year, Director (CS. II) of MHA Neeraj Kansal said on the proposal regarding renaming of Silchar Railway Station as Bhasha Shwahid Railway Station: “The policy guidelines existing in this behalf do not permit renaming of villages, cities, towns, railway stations etc. on grounds of local patriotism or for linguistic reasons. Railway stations should not be renamed after national leaders merely to show respect to them or for satisfying their local sentiments in the matter of language etc. In the instant case, the martyrs referred do not have the recognition in the national life but only in their own region and that too for linguistic reasons. The proposal from your end, therefore, does not conform to para 2 (iii) of this Ministry’s guidelines issued to the State governments vide letter No. 11/9/53-public dated 11.9.1953 and read with letter No. 39/11/60-public dated 28.12.1960.”
When contacted for comments on the issue, Borkhola MLA Rumi Nath said: “It’s an injustice to Barak Valley. All BJP legislators will meet Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi tomorrow and request him to take up the issue for renaming Silchar Railway Station as Bhasha Shwahid Railway Station with the Union Home Ministry and the Railway Ministry afresh. We hope, if the State Government put pressure on the Centre on the issue, the long-standing demand of the people of Barak Valley can be fulfilled.” THE SENTINEL