(EDS: Combining related stories) Bengaluru/Kasaragod, June 28 (PTI): Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday wrote to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan requesting him to stop changing names of places in Kasaragod district of Kerala bordering the state from Kannada to Malayalam even as Kerala government denied such a move.
In his missive, Yediyurappa pointed out the existing Kannada names and the proposed new Malayalam name of the places.
He said the Kannada-speaking areas of Kasaragod district, in which Manjeshwar and Kasaragod are situated are famous for their traditional culture and historical background and names of the places in Kasaragod and Manjeshwar were close to the emotions of people and carry immense sentimental value for them from time immemorial.
'It is astonishing to note that in the recent past there is an attempt by the local bodies to change names of some villages without giving an opportunity to the residents of these areas to express their views,' Yediyurappa has written.
'The change of village names will hurt the feelings of the people and their sentiments detrimentally. This will also destroy the Kannada and Tulu culture, which is in existence since long,' Yediyurappa said.
He cautioned that the act of changing names of these villages would cause deep anguish within the community living there, and this may affect the harmony, comity and brotherhood amongst the Kannada and Malayalam-speaking public.
The Chief Minister said the existing names were predominantly from Kannada and Tulu languages while some names have a long history of several centuries.
Stating that many institutions have given representation to the Karnataka Border Area Development Authority (KBADA), he said, 'I request you to kindly reconsider the proposed decision of changing names of some villages in Kasaragod and Manjeshwara Taluks of Kasaragod district in Kerala state.' He also said the Kerala government may not have the intention to change the names of these villages and this may be the unilateral decision of the local bodies of these villages.
Earlier, the KBADA chairman Dr C Somasekhara brought the matter to the notice of Yediyurappa stating that the Kerala government intended to change the names of some Kerala villages from Kannada to Malayalam sounding names.
Karnataka's Forest and Kannada and Culture Minister Aravind Limbavali too wrote to Yediyurappa regarding Kerala government's move to change names of border villages in the State from Kannada to Malayalam.
'We must strongly oppose the move of the Kerala government as a move to protect Kannada culture. Since the issue is about emotions of the people and also a sensitive one,' he said and requested Yediyurappa to write to his Kerala counterpart and urge him to withdraw the decision to rename the villages into Malayalam.
Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar has also expressed anger over the move.
Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, whose party JD(S) is part of the LDF government in Kerala, too wrote to Vijayan on the issue.
'I sincerely request you to halt the process in the name of linguistic harmony and cultural co-existence. Kasaragod, although a part of Kerala, has had a seamless affinity with Karnataka for decades, and people in the area have always been accommodative of each other's linguistic heritage. It would be wonderful to continue the tradition,' Kumaraswamy wrote in his letter.
Meanwhile, Kerala government denied news reports that it was mulling to change names of certain places in Kasaragod district.
Minister for Local Self-government M V Govindan Master's office denied the reports and said the Kerala government has not taken any step to change the names of any place in Kasaragod district.
'This news is completely baseless. There was no move by the Kerala government to change the name of places,' a senior source from the Minister's office told PTI.
Manjeshwaram MLA A K M Ashraf too said there was no move to change the names of the places. PTI GMS RRT NVG NVG