NEW DELHI: Muslim outfits today objected New Delhi Municipal Council's (NDMC) decision to rename Aurangzeb Road after late President A P J Abdul Kalam, terming it as a "deliberate" move that is "likely to set the trend of rechristening other cities/streets distorting history".
"It is a deliberate effort, it will not halt here. This is because soon after the road was named after Abdul Kalamji, Shiv Sena said it will change the name of Maharashtra's Aurangabad district where the Mughal Emperor's graveyard is located.
"They have a long list of cities/roads named after some historical figures or Muslim Emperors, which they want to change," Dr S Q R Ilyas, President of Welfare Party of India and All India Muslim Personal Law Board member, told PTI.
Ilyas, also general secretary of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) - an apex body of various organisations of the community, said the Emperor was not "anti-Hindu" as is perceived but "a secular" personality.
Referring to former Orissa Governor Bishambhar Nath Pande's collection of Aurangzeb's farman (orders), Ilyas said the documents - in Persian - show the Emperor had donated lands for building temples.
"Roads were named out of respect for history. It is unfortunate we are trying to distort it now. The road renaming proposal was given by Delhi MP Maheish Girri. He said they (BJP) want to rewrite history to undo ills of it. This shows their mindset and that they won't stop here only," he said.
Ilyas insisted the issue should be looked at from secular point of view, keeping in mind that India is a country of people who believe in different faiths.
Ataur Rahaman Qasmi, chairman of Delhi-based Shah Waliullah Institute, said Kalam himself would not have liked any such act had he been alive.
He maintained the decision doesn't show any affection towards the ex-President.
NDMC took the decision to rename the road in Lutyen's Delhi August 28.
The decision was taken reportedly in the wake of a proposal by Girri who had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider renaming the road to correct "wrongs" of history and had said it will be a fitting tribute to the memory of Kalam widely regarded as 'People's President'.
Welcoming NDMC's decision, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had on August 29 said the Aurangabad city in central Maharashtra too would be renamed as 'Sambhaji Nagar'.