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In Bihar’s ‘Muslim hub’, a village wants to be renamed after Yogi

Residents of a mostly Bengali Hindu village in a ‘Muslim hub’ in north eastern Bihar, have resolved to get it renamed after Yogi Aditya Nath, the saffron clad chief minister of Utter Pradesh.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2017 18:05 IST
Aditya Nath Jha
Aditya Nath Jha
Hindustan Times, Purnia
Kelabari Fulwaria,Purnia village,Yogi Aditya Nath
In this banner, this village in Bihar’s Purnia district has already been ‘renamed’ after Yogi Aditya Nath. (Aditya Jha/HT photo)

Call it whatever you will: a sign of the changing times or a cascading impact of TV news channels’ new found fascination for the saffron-clad monk who is now chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar’s western neighbour and India’s most populous state.

A group of residents of Kelabari Fulwaria village in Mohania Panchayat under Kasba police station in Purnia district of north eastern Bihar has resolved to have the village renamed Yogi Adityanath Gram, after the UP chief minister.

The move is significant for the fact that Purnia is part of Bihar’s ‘Muslim hub’, being one of the four districts close to West Bengal, in each of which the Muslim population is estimated to be in excess of 35%. The other districts are Araria, Katihar and Kishanganj.

The village lies amidst Muslim-populated villages in Kasba block. However, Kelabari Fulwaria, about 15 km from the district headquarters town of Purnia, is almost entirely populated by Bengali origin Hindus.

On April 1, the villagers held a meeting and resolved to construct a temple at the village. In that spirit of religiosity, a group of people present at the meeting, put forth a proposal to rename the village after UP chief minister, which was ‘approved’ by a chorus of supporting voices.

“The villagers, after the conclusion of the meeting, put their signatures on a petition for changing the name of our village after Yogiji and for building a temple at the village”, said Rajeev Kumar, a social activist

“We see nothing wrong in renaming our village after Yogiji, who is a very good leader and doing a great job in UP”, said Shivshankar Sarkar, who has agreed to donate land for the temple. “We also think Yogiji is very honest and pro poor.” he added.

Sarkar said nobody present at the village meeting had opposed the proposal, citing this as evidence of widespead support for the move. “Soon after Ramnavami (celebrated on April 5), we will send the petition signed by villagers to the local circle officer and to district magistrate of Purnia”, he stated.

But Kasba circle officer Amar Kumar Verma said changing the name of a revenue village was not as easy as some villagers may have thought. “For doing so, many formalities have to be completed, approvals taken”, he told HT. Despite many efforts, Purnia DM Pankaj Kumar Pal could not be contacted for his comment.

Contrary to the claim of those advocating a name change for the village, local ward member Binod Prasad Sah expressed his ignorance about the matter. “Besides, I don’t think there is any need to change the name of the village”, he said.

The Kasba assembly constituency, of which this village is part, has swung between the BJP and the Congress in recent years. “Kasba is represented at present by a Muslim Congress MLA. It is possible BJP supporters may be behind the name changing move”, said an elderly resident of Kasba.

First Published: Apr 05, 2017 18:05 IST

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