BJP's Andhra Pradesh chief Somu Veerraju on Thursday, December 30, demanded that the name of Guntur's Jinnah Tower be changed, as it is named after the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Somu Veerraju said since Jinnah was the cause of India's division, the state government should change the name of the tower. "How can we continue to use the name of a man who was responsible for the country's partition?" he asked. The BJP leader said that wherever there are names of “anti-nationals”, they should be removed.
“Jinnah was the reason behind the partition of India. Many Indians suffered due to the partition … At a time when many people in Pakistan consider India as an enemy nation, BJP feels that continuing to use Jinnah’s name for a centre in Guntur is not acceptable,” Somu Veerraju said. He also suggested that the name of the tower be changed to eminent Indian personalities like former president APJ Abdul Kalam, or other culturally important persons or freedom fighters from the Guntur district.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA in Telangana Raja Singh also echoed the demand that the name of Jinnah Tower should be changed immediately by the Andhra Pradesh government. Another BJP leader, party National Secretary Y Satya Kumar, also said that the tower should be renamed after Abdul Kalam or Telugu poet Gurram Jashua who was born in Guntur.
Jinnah Tower in Guntur is a key landmark located on Mahatma Gandhi Road, an arterial road of the city. Despite the conflicts between India and Pakistan, the tower has continued to stand in the city with the same name, remaining a symbol of harmony.
The tower, built in honour of Jinnah in the pre-independence era, stands tall on six pillars and opens to a dome. The tower is one of the few structures of Islamic architecture in the region. According to historians, the tower was built by a local Muslim leader Lal Jan Basha after the visit of Jinnah's representative Liaquat Ali Khan to Guntur.
Heritage activists in the past raised concern over parts of the tower crumbling due to negligence by authorities. They had called for protecting the edifice.
ఆజాదీ కా అమృత్ మహోత్సవ్ జరుపుకుంటున్న ప్రస్తుత తరుణంలో ఇప్పటికీ దేశ విభజనకు కారకులైన వారి పేర్లతో రాష్ట్రంలో జంక్షన్లు/రోడ్లు ఉండటం దురదృష్టకరం.— Somu Veerraju / సోము వీర్రాజు (@somuveerraju) December 30, 2021
వెంటనే రాష్ట్ర ప్రభుత్వం స్పందించి, రాష్ట్ర వ్యాప్తంగా ఉన్న అలాంటి పేర్లను మార్చాలని కోరుతున్నాను.@ysjagan @AndhraPradeshCM pic.twitter.com/79JDSTZxF5