Sirsa defaces Aurangzeb Lane board: ‘No reason for such a road’

The signboard was cleaned up later. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Rajouri Garden MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa defaced an ‘Aurangzeb Lane’ signboard in Central Delhi Sunday and demanded the removal of the Mughal emperor’s name from road signages and school textbooks.

The Shiromani Akali Dal MLA, who is also the president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), was accompanied by a few other members of the committee.

In a video posted by him on his Twitter account, Sirsa and DSGMC leaders Harmeet Singh Kalka, Kulwant Singh Baath and Vicky Mann can be seen spray-painting the board with black paint.

When contacted, Sirsa told The Indian Express: “At a time when we are observing the martyrdom of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji, who sacrificed his life to save Hindus and Sikhs from forceful conversion to Islam and was killed by Aurangzeb, how can we have a road in his name? I believe that there is no reason that there should be a road, or anything else, in his name.”

While the paint was cleaned during the course of the day, a New Delhi Municipal Council spokesperson claimed they were not aware of the defacement. “We don’t know of any such incident. We usually register a complaint of defacement in such cases,” the spokesperson said.

Police said they are yet to receive a complaint. A senior police officer said, “We haven’t received a complaint yet but are conducting an inquiry in the matter. We will take action ourselves if we don’t receive a complaint soon.”

In 2015, the name of Aurangzeb Road was changed to Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road after the then BJP MP from East Delhi Maheish Girri proposed the move to “correct the mistakes made in our history”. The move was criticised by several historians. At the time, Aurangzeb Lane was spared a similar fate.

This is not the first time that signboards in the areas have been defaced. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, signages on Akbar Road has been vandalised and defaced, with the Delhi Police filing FIRs in all three cases.

In all three instances, posters saying ‘Maharana Pratap Road’ were pasted on the signboards in place of Akbar Road. In one case, the Hindu Sena claimed responsibility for the action.