Obliterating Muslim history: Agra’s Jamia Masjid metro station renamed after nearby temple

AGRA: Acting on the directions of Yogi Adityanath, who is known for his anti-Muslim hatred, the Uttar Pradesh metro has renamed the Jamia Masjid station in the historic city of Agra to Mankameshwar Mandir, barely months before the next general elections across India.

The UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had instructed the Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) to change the name during an Agra visit last year. It is worth mentioning that obliterating Muslim history of UP and India has been a part of Adityanath’s communal politics.

Following orders received from the state govt, the signage of the Jamia Masjid Metro Station has been switched to Mankameshwar Metro Station. UPMRC deputy general manager Panchanan Mishra in a media interview said the state government has approved the name change and the signage has been modified accordingly.

The metro service on the priority corridor is expected to be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi between 25 and 28 February.

Reportedly, Adityanath visited Agra last year in July and conducted a survey of the work on the priority corridor. At that time, local residents demanded that the Jamia Masjid station be renamed after the ancient Mankameshwar temple nearby.

Muslim community leaders decrying the move as being electorally motivated said that renaming a station associated with a significant Muslim monument undermines the city’s diverse heritage and promotes religious bias.

Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad Chairman Sami Aghai said by changing the name of the station, the government was merely trying to gain Hindu votes, while denigrating Muslims at the same time. The timing of this renaming also reeked of political opportunism, he said.

Muslim leader Mohammed Sharif Kala said the Lok Sabha elections would probably be announced in the first week of March and before that, the name of the station had been changed so that the BJP got more Hindu votes, even if at the cost of alienating the Muslim minority.

“The government is deliberately erasing names with Muslim identity. It is actually working on its own agenda which is the ideology of RSS and Hindutva,” a local resident said.

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