‘We’re Ready for a Win Win Situation’- SAC Rector on Road Renaming Issue
Mangaluru: Looks like everybody is taking their turns- First it was the Jesuits and Aloysians who raised the topic of renaming of the “Now” controversial road as “St Aloysius College Road”-then following 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 have three different communities fighting over ‘ONE ROAD to be RENAMED AS ONE NAME of their choice??” Oh well, the fight still goes on-seems like the “Clash of the Titans?”.
Few days ago a press meet was held at Hotel Ocean Pearl-Mangaluru on 25 July by Vijaya Bank Ex-Workers Union; Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty (MSRS) Fan Fraternity, along with Bunt’s Alias Nadavara Mathr Sangha (R) to brief the media persons about the programme to commemorate 102 birthday of Late Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty, and also to discuss the ongoing fight in renaming a road in MSRS name. Giving a brief history of Late MSRS Dr Mohan Alva- President, Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty Fan Fraternity, ” The mention of Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty evokes a sense of awe, reverence, appreciation and gratefulness among the people of coastal Karnataka. He excelled in everything he did, right from insurance, Triton and Atlas company, and Vijaya Bank, and several other places and position in which he served. He gave jobs to thousands of people irrespective of caste, race or creed.
Also other Bunt dignitaries who spoke during the press meet where Maladi Ajith Kumar Rai- President- Bunt’s Alias Nadavara MathrSangha (R); K Amarnath Shetty- Former State Minister and MLA; and Sadanand Shetty- Honorary President, Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty Fan Fraternity; and also the President of International Bunt’s Welfare Trust said that a suitable decision would be taken about renaming the road as “Mulky Sunder Ram Shetty Road” during the 102nd birthday remembrance of MSRS to be held tomorrow (29th July) at Town Hall-Mangaluru at 4 pm. Tit-for-tat, the Jesuit priests and Aloysians who didn’t want to remain quiet, and in order to brief the media as to what their plan of action is pertaining to the renaming of the road, held a press meet on 28 July at the College Conference hall, which was attended by many media persons.
Following is the press release that was circulated to the media people, along with few other points briefed by the St Aloysius College Management Committee and members of St Aloysius College Alumni Association (SACAA); and also it was revealed that an Action Committee has been formed for retaining the name “St Aloysius College Road” from Catholic Club to Ambedkar Circle, where further Action Programmes will be undertaken -the press release stated: “It may be recalled that due to the protest organized by St Aloysius College, 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 will 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 programme in the last few weeks. However, a few Organizations like Bunt’s Sangha have started making wild allegations against the college and also against the respected legislators that they have communalized and politicized the issue.
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 especially the Bunts Yane Nadavara Sangha have been misleading the general public through such 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 will clearly prove about who is indulging in communal politics and who is politicizing the issue. Such irresponsible acts are creating more hurdles than finding solutions. The same Organizations had earlier thwarted the sincere efforts of Sri J.R.Lobo and the Hon’ble Mayor by rejecting the appeal to come for talks, are now finding fault with St Aloysius college for organizing the protest programme. This press conference has been convened to place before the general public a few facts on this issue.
A broad based “Action Committee” has been set up for planning and executing the future action programmes. The action committee headed by St Aloysius Alumni Association will include the representatives of present students, staff, prominent citizens, like-minded organizations and well-wishers of the college. The newly constituted action committee is meeting tomorrow, 29-07-2017 to chalk out the future course of action. There is no question of succumbing to any threats of agitation. We are determined to fight out democratically till the name of “St Aloysius college road” is retained. However, the committee expresses confidence in the leadership of Ramanath Rai, District in-charge Minister, J.R.Lobo, MLA, Ivan D’Souza, MLC, Hon’ble Mayor, corporators and the District Administration and will extend all possible cooperation in helping to find a solution to the problem acceptable to both the parties.
The Action Committee will be forced to launch counter measures if other organizations do not cooperate with the process of amicable settlement. The committee is confident that the public opinion is in favour of St Aloysius College. The opinions expressed in the media by the general public in recent days are a clear vindication of our stand.
Following are the FEW FACTS of St Aloysius College Road:
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 Blasius D’Souza and Late 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 “ಸಂತ ಅಲೋಶಿಯಸ್ ಕಾಲೇಜುರಸ್ತೆ” (in Kannnda-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 (then existing book stall), 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 an another 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 cross road, 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. Vijay 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 “ಅಂಬೆಡ್ಕರ್ ವೃತ್ತದಿಂದ ಲೈಟ್ ಹೌಸ್ ಮೂಲಕ ಹಾದು ಹೋಗಿ ಕ್ಯಾಥೋಲಿಕ್ ಕ್ಲಬ್ ವರೆಗಿನ ರಸ್ತೆ”. This created a 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 a 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. A 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 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 30000 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 a honour and pride for Mangaluru.
After Action Committee convenor N G Mohan, and Dean of SAC Narahari briefed the media persons, it was the final word from the Rector of St Aloysius Fr Dionysius Vas SJ who send a clear message to the other party, where he said, ” Even though we had called for an open dialogue/talk with the other party on 27 July, but 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 we 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”.
St Aloysius College principal Fr Praveen Martis SJ; Archibald Menezes- President of SACAA; N.G.Mohan- Convenor of Action Committee; Sumit Rao-alumni of SAC; St Aloysius College pupil president Aman Ahmed, few college lecturers were present during the press meet.
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