Renaming of Indian city of Allahabad to Prayagraj sparks debate online

Indian Muslim devotees participate in the mourning procession on the tenth day of Muharram, which marks the day of Ashura, in Allahabad on Sept 21, 2018. Allahabad was renamed Prayagraj on Oct 16, 2018.
Indian Muslim devotees participate in the mourning procession on the tenth day of Muharram, which marks the day of Ashura, in Allahabad on Sept 21, 2018. Allahabad was renamed Prayagraj on Oct 16, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI - Mr Akshat Lal Srivastava, a history enthusiast, went to sleep in a city he loved and knew like the back of his hand, but woke up to a new one. For Allahabad, where he has lived all his life, had been renamed Prayagraj on Oct 16 by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The move, which comes months away from the 2019 parliamentary elections, is seen as appeasing right-wing Hindu groups clamouring for the city of Allahabad to be sanitised of an "Islamic-sounding" name. The state is led by Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu religious leader who took over as the state's chief minister in March last year.

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