Govt/MCC has ‘Humbugged’ St Aloysius Institutions in Renaming SAC Road to MSR Shetty Road
- Government/Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) has ‘Humbugged’ St Aloysius Institutions in Renaming ‘St Aloysius College Road’ to ‘Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty Road If you recall old news, BJP leaders had assured the public of Mangaluru that if they come to power in the State, they will see that St Aloysius College Road aka Light House Hill Road, will be renamed to ‘Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty Road’- and it is official now that MCC Mayor Diwakar Pandeshwar during the MCC Council meeting said “There will be no more controversy, as per governments order the renaming St Aloysius College Road as Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty Road, the former chairman of Vijaya Bank, the road from Ambedkar circle to Catholic Club will be renamed as Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty Road” on 23 September 2020 at 9 am.
Mangaluru: Instead of rectifying a large number of Civic issues, like bad roads, flooding of streets, bad drainage, contaminated City water, etc etc, the MCC officials, including the Mayor are overwhelmed and excited in projects like renaming existing Circles. , existing roads etc. Bah humbug! Looks like everybody had taken their turns in the renaming of Light House Hill Raod- First, it was the Jesuits and Aloysians who raised the topic of the renaming of the “Now” controversial road as “St Aloysius College Road”-then followed close on its heels various Bunt Sangha’s raised their voice of renaming the said road as “Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty Road”- in the meantime our Muslim brethren who didn’t want to remain quiet, came forward and raised their voice stating that, “Why not rename this road as “Idgah Road”. So we had three different communities fighting over ‘ONE ROAD to be RENAMED AS ONE NAME of their choice??” Oh well, the fight went on like the “Clash of the Titans?”.
In 2017, Vijaya Bank Ex-Workers Union; Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty (MSRS) Fan Fraternity, along with Bunt’s Alias Nadavara Mathr Sangha (R) to commemorate 102 birthday of Late Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty, wanted the LHH Road renamed to ‘ Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty ‘ stating that it would evoke a sense of awe, reverence, appreciation and gratefulness among the people of coastal Karnataka, since Late Shetty had excelled in everything he did, right from insurance, and gave jobs to thousands of people irrespective of caste, race or creed. The Jesuits also raised their voice saying that St Aloysius Institutions, since 140 years had provided education to thousands of students who are all doing very good across the globe, and it would be appropriate to retain the “St Aloysius College Road” which was christened by then MLA Late Blasius D’Souza, years ago.
In order to fight for justice to retain ‘St Aloysius College Road, the college organized a massive protest, and due to the protest organized by St Aloysius College, and objections raised by alumni of the college and others, the Government of Karnataka issued a temporary stay to the process of renaming St Aloysius College Road as Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty road on 01-07-2017. It was mentioned that under the leadership of District-in-charge Minister, Ramanath Rai, the district administration had initiate talks with both Vijaya Bank Employees Union and St Aloysius College to find an amicable settlement for the issue. With an intention of giving respect and cooperation to the process of finding a solution to the problem, St Aloysius College restrained from precipitating the issue further through any agitational programmes. . However, a few other organizations connected to a certain community started making wild allegations against the college and also against the respected legislators that they have communalized and politicized the issue.
St Aloysius Institutions wants to Retain the Road as ‘ST Aloysius College Road’
St Aloysius College never practiced communalism and never believed in playing politics. In fact, the college is known for harmony with high secular credentials. There is only one community in St Aloysius that is St Aloysius Community. Similarly, the legislators have been trying very sincerely to find a solution to the problem. A few Organizations had misled the general public through baseless allegations instead of cooperating for finding an amicable settlement. Ironically, the statements being issued by these organizations, the background of the people issuing such statements and the statements of a few political parties clearly proved about who is indulging in communal politics and who is politicizing the issue.
Such irresponsible acts created more hurdles than finding solutions. The same Organizations had earlier thwarted the sincere efforts of the then MLA J.R.Lobo and the Hon’ble Mayor by rejecting the appeal to come for talks, are later finding fault with St Aloysius college for organizing the protest programme. A broad-based “Action Committee” was set up for planning and executing future action programmes. The action committee headed by St Aloysius Alumni Association included the representatives of present students, staff, prominent citizens, like-minded organizations and well-wishers of the college. There was no question of succumbing to any threats of agitation, and the Jesuit priests and Aloysians were determined to fight out democratically till the name of “St Aloysius College Road” is retained. However, the committee was confidence in the leadership of then minister Ramanath Rai who was District in-charge Minister, J.R.Lobo, MLA, Ivan D’Souza, MLC, Hon’ble Mayor, corporators and the District Administration and hoped that all possible cooperation is extended in helping to find a solution to the problem acceptable to both the parties.
Vijaya Bank Retired Officers Association want Road to be renamed as ‘Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty Road
The Action Committee was all ready to launch countermeasures if other organizations did not cooperate with the process of an amicable settlement. The committee was confident that the public opinion was in favour of St Aloysius College, and stated that opinions expressed in the media by the general public during those days of this controversy were a clear vindication of SAC committee stand.
Muslim Brethren wanted the Road to be renamed as ‘Idgah Road’
Following are the FEW FACTS of St Aloysius College Road as narrated by the action committee:
1. The Light House Hill Road was named as St Aloysius Road during the beginning of the centenary celebrations as a mark of respect for the services rendered by the college. It was in 1979 due to special efforts of Late Mr Blazius D’Souza and Late Mr P.F.Rodrigues, Former Ministers of Karnataka, the road was inaugurated with the consent of the Municipality (City Corporation had not been formed then). There was no system of notifying a road during that time.
2. A Plaque (Name Board) was installed at the time of inauguration as St Aloysius College Raod (in Kannada-see pic: St Aloysius College Road) on to the compound wall of KMC. The plaque is still there. It is a strong proof.
3. There were three yellow name boards installed under the same name: one in front of Higgin Bothams (which was then an existing bookstall, now closed), second was at the deviation point on the lighthouse hill and third was in front of the district library. These name boards were removed during concretization and road widening. The fact that such a name board existed has been admitted by Ajith Kumar Malady, President Bunts’ Association in his memorandum to District in-charge minister.
4. When the LHH road was renamed as St Aloysius College Road, Mangalore Catholic Cooperative Bank Ltd (MCC Bank) changed its registered office address clearly mentioning the road as ‘St Aloysius College Road’ instead of LHH road. All its correspondences were with the changed address. We have the relevant copies of the documents from MCC Bank. This is another strong strong evidence.
5. The Centenary Souvenir of the college has shown a map wherein it is clearly mentioned as “SAC Road”.
6. Mangalore City Corporation Website under ward 40 mentions in several places as St Aloysius College Main road, St Aloysius crossroad, etc. The Hon’ble Mayor has admitted this fact in public. This is another proof that the road, in fact, was named as St Aloysius College Road.
7. Vijaya Bank Officers’ Organization did not specifically ask for this road. In fact, their application to the Corporation was to name any road in Mangaluru as “Sundarrama Shetty Road”. Therefore, if an alternative road is suggested by the City Corporation or the Government their demand will be met.
8. The proposal made to City Corporation itself was defective. It was mentioned in the proposal as”Jyothi Circle via LHH Rd to Catholic Club (now closed) for renaming, and this created confusion that the road is from Ambedkar Circle to Hampankatta. In fact, the vehicle movement is in the reverse direction. Usually, the road direction is based on the vehicular movement.
9. There was no specific debate in Mangaluru City Corporation with regard to the approval. Many corporators have openly expressed surprise how the resolution was passed without debate. Some officials have quietly seen to it that the resolution is recorded as passed.
10. MangaluruCity Corporation should have issued a notice to St Aloysius College before effecting any change as the road earlier had been named as St Aloysius college road. Public notification is not enough.
11. Roads and Circles renamed will not be recognized under the new name by the General Public immediately. It takes a long time. For example, Jyothi Circle is named as Ambedkar circle but it is till Jyothi. Similarly, the road from Ambedkar circle to Hampankatta is named as Dr Shivarama Karanth Road. But it is still known as Balmatta road. For example, if you go to the website of Hotel Roopa or Canara Bank, it is still showing the address as Balmatta road, near Jyothi Circle. It does not mean that the road name has not been changed.
12. St Aloysius College is also a heritage zone as the Chapel and the Museum are attracting more than 50,000 foreigners every year. St Aloysius College has brought about a transformational change in education, culture and social spheres of life. It is befitting that a road in its name becomes an honour and pride for Mangaluru.
Rector of St Aloysius Institutions then, Fr Dionysius Vas SJ who send a clear message to the other party, had said, “Even though we had called for an open dialogue/talk with the other party, unfortunately, they never showed up. We are not interested nor will go for communal disharmony. We want to settle this issue in peace and harmony. Even though we decide to protest, it will be a peaceful protest, and will not be taken onto the streets, nor will disturb the communal peace. Citizens should understand that our prestigious college stands on this road, and the road was christened as ‘St Aloysius College Road’ during our centenary year- We are looking forward and want this Road name to be kept as it is now. How can we rename St Aloysius College Road’ at a different location? We are looking for a dialogue and ready for a win-win situation. We are not worried even if we lose the battle, but our aim is to end this issue in communal harmony. We all look forward to your continued support”.
But with no proper solution to end the controversy and bunch of protests, and after the decision faced opposition and the renaming was kept in abeyance, it was questioned in the High Court through a writ petition. The High Court then granted stay against the implementation of the order. On the other hand, the representatives of Vijaya Bank Retired Officers’ Organization had said that they had obtained legal sanction for renaming this road after the former chairman of their bank and that MLA J R Lobo had written to the government and secured a stay against the process of renaming the road. They noted that even the city corporation had approved the proposal to rename Light House Hill road as Sunder Ram Shetty Road. Few of the association members had claimed to be in possession of all records to prove their claim and reiterated their demand to christen the said road as Sunder Ram Shetty Road.
While the said issue is still pending in the High Court with a stay order, it is surprising to note that the BJP government has played some dirty tricks in renaming the original name of the road to ‘Mulky Sunder ram Shetty Road’ effective 23 September 2020 (Today) at 9 am, where the government has stated that the HC has withdrawn the stay order, and therefore it is legal now, to rename the road. But in the meantime, the Jesuit priests who are totally upset with the government and also MCC, for not informing anything about this move, have called for a press meet this afternoon (23 September at 3 pm) in College Conference Hall, to once again explain about the TRUE FACTS behind this ROAD RENAMING BATTLE! More details will be published after the press meet today.