Shimla won’t be renamed: Himachal chief minister

Shimla, April 23 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government has no plan to change the names of Shimla city and colonial-era landmarks in the state, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said on Saturday.

“The renaming of Shimla and landmarks associated with the British rule will not be allowed,” the chief minister told reporters here.

The demand for changing names has come from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

After the decision to rename ‘Gurgaon’ in Haryana as ‘Gurugram’ was taken by the BJP government, the Himachal unit of VHP urged the chief minister that ‘Shimla’ be rechristened ‘Shemalaya’ which it claimed is the city’s old name.

Taking a jibe at the VHP, the octogenarian chief minister said: “Tomorrow they can say that Virbhadra Singh should also be renamed.”

The VHP also said that state-run hotel-cum-guest house Peterhoff in Shimla should be renamed ‘Valmiki Bhawan’ and Dalhousie town, which was established in 1854 by the British government as a summer retreat, should be named after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Peterhoff was home to seven viceroys during the British Raj. It later housed the Punjab High Court where Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathu Ram Godse was tried. It housed the Raj Bhavan in 1981 when it was gutted in a fire.

It was subsequently rebuilt.

Shimla, which served as the summer capital of British India between 1864 and 1939, currently has 91 British-era heritage buildings.

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