The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking the renaming of all cities and historical places which have been named after “barbaric foreign invaders”, reported Bar and Bench.

The plea filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay had sought forming a renaming commission to find out the original names of ancient historical cultural religious places, which are currently named after Muslim rulers.

The petition had also sought the Archaeological Survey of India to be directed to prepare a list of such names under the citizens’ right to know of the Constitution.

Upadhyay claimed that renaming of such structures is necessary because Hindus have become minority in many historical places.

“Why history should start only after Ghazni-Ghori?” the BJP leader asked, reported Live Law. “What is Aurangzeb’s relationship with India?”

Upadhyay also said that Constitutional protections should not be given to foreign invaders, reported Bar and Bench.

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna rejected the plea while describing it as against secular principles of the Constitution.

“You are relooking at the past selectively,” the top court said. “India is today a secular country. Your fingers being pointed at a particular community, termed barbaric. Do you want to keep the country under boil.”

The Supreme Court added that the India’s history cannot change by renaming certain historical sites or cities.

“Can we rewrite history and say they did not invade?” the Supreme Court said. “That is a fact of history can you wish it away. Yes we have been ruled by foreign invaders. We have been invaded several times and history has taken its part. What are you trying to achieve? Have we not heard other problems in our country.”

The court added: “The history of any nation cannot haunt the present and future generations of a nation to the point that succeeding generations become prisoners of the past. The golden principle of fraternity is of the greatest importance and rightfully finds its place in the Preamble of the Constitution. It means that harmony alone will lead to togetherness of the country.”

The court had made the observations after it stopped Upadhyay from withdrawing the petition. “Let us not break society with such kinds of petitions, please have the country in mind, not any religion,” Nagarathna told Upadhyay.

She added: “Hinduism is a way of life, because of that India has assimilated everybody. Because of that we are able to live together. Divide and rule policy of British brought about schism in our society. Let us not bring that back. Do not drag a religion into this.”

The judges also noted that under Article 32 of the Constitution, the court is tasked with enforcing fundamental rights. “India is wedded to the rule of law, secularism, constitutionalism, of which Article 14 stands out as guaranteeing both equality and fairness in state actions,” the bench said.”

Notably, the BJP government in states and the Centre have renamed cities and other historical sites that were named after Muslim rulers or had a connection with the Islamic culture. Last month, the Mughal Gardens inside the Rashtrapati Bhavan were renamed as Amrit Udyan.

In May, the Delhi unit of the BJP had asked the New Delhi Municipal Council to change the names of five roads – Tughlaq Road, Akbar Road, Aurangzeb Lane, Humayun Road, Shahjahan Road and Babar Lane – that bear the “symbol of slavery of the Mughal era” in the national capital.

The name of Allahabad was changed to Prayagraj by the Adityanath-led government in 2018.