Residents of the Yelahanka suburb in Bengaluru on Thursday named a flyover in the area after Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar “Veer” Savarkar, despite the state government’s decision to postpone the inauguration of the structure due to the coronavirus crisis, News18 reported.
The residents painted “Swatantra Veer Savarkar Flyover” in Kannada at the mouth of both ends of the flyover on Thursday morning, allegedly at the behest of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. However, no case has been filed in this regard.
The flyover was to be inaugurated by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday morning, but this was postponed due to prohibitory orders still being in place in Bengaluru.
Local legislator SR Vishwanath, who is also the political secretary to Yediyurappa, said on Thursday that he will not back down from officially naming the flyover after Savarkar next month, despite opposition from Opposition parties and Kannada groups. Kannada-rights groups have said that the flyover should be named after a local hero.
Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah called the proposed name for the flyover an “anti-people” decision. “It is an insult to Karnataka’s freedom fighters when you take a decision to name the Yelahanka flyover after VD Savarkar,” he tweeted. “Please withdraw this decision immediately. On one hand you seek the cooperation of Opposition parties, and then you take such anti-people decisions.”
HD Kumaraswamy, a Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former chief minister, asked if other states name their monuments after Kannadiga icons. He said Karnataka has many “heroes” who fought for the country during the independence struggle.
However, Vishwanath was unfazed. “Let them hold whatever protest they want,” he told reporters. “If Kumaraswamy wishes, we can name projects after personalities in his family too in coming months. But let them not insult our freedom fighters like Savarkar. We will go ahead with this name because most of the people of Yelahanka are pro-Savarkar.”