The demand to rename the junction, however, is not welcomed by all.

Section of people led by Congress at China Mukku at Konni in Kerala demand renaming of the place following India China standoff at GalwanChina Mukku in Konni
news Controversy Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 20:25

The recent standoff between the Indian Army and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley, has put residents of a small Kerala town, nearly 4,000 kilometres away, in a predicament. A traffic junction within the Konni gram panchayat limits in Pathanamthitta district, named ‘China Mukku’ (China Junction), has become controversial as members of the UDF-led panchayat have raised demands to rename it.

Representative of the Madathil Kavu ward, Praveen Plavilayil, has given a letter in this regard to the panchayat president, seeking to pass a resolution in the local body on the name change. But a section of people in the region, led by the CPI(M), have said that the demand is not unilateral.

A 68-year history

Interestingly, the reason the place got the name ‘China Mukku’ has its roots in a comment made by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru when he visited the town back in the early 1950s.

“It is said that back then, when Nehru passed by the place, at this particular junction alone he saw scores of red flags of the Communist party. Seeing this, he is said to have sarcastically asked if this was a junction in China. It is from then on that the junction began to be called China Mukku. Mukku in Malayalam means junction. At the time, the place was a stronghold of the Communist party,” Praveen Plavilayil, who wrote the letter to the panchayat, told TNM.

He said that he wrote the letter following strong demands from many people in the ward. “There are many ex-military persons here and they were all demanding that we not continue to carry China’s name, considering the Galwan incident,” he said.

However, the demand is clearly not welcomed by all.

Talking to TNM, members of CPI(M) said that the demand has only been put forth by Congress workers in the region, while a majority of the people are against this.

“Do they think changing the name of a place will solve issues at the border? If so, we would have also agreed to it,” quipped CPI(M) area committee member Rajesh, adding that there was another junction in the panchayat named after Vietnam.

Rajesh, however, pointed to the likelihood of the resolution getting passed in the local body where UDF enjoys a majority. Of the 18 members in the panchayat, 12 are from UDF, five are from CPI(M) and one is an independent member.

Few residents in the region were also against the demand for an official name change.

“This was the name of the place since the time we remember. Why should a place’s name be changed for that (Galwan standoff) issue? If we are to change like that, we will have to change so many places here,” a resident of the panchayat told Media One.

Speaking to TNM, panchayat president Rejani M also said that people are divided on the demand.

“Since a member has demanded to put this to a resolution, we have called a council meeting on Monday. The resolution will be taken as per majority decision,” she said.

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