Renaming of Gorakhpur park an insult to freedom fighters: Priyanka
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday hit out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh for its decision to rename Gorakhpur’s Vindyavasini Park as Hanuman Prasad Poddar Udyan, saying the move was an insult to freedom fighters.
Hanuman Prasad Poddar was the founder of the Gorakhpur-based Gita Press, a prominent publisher of Hindu religious texts.
“Our freedom fighters are a source of inspiration to us. Gorakhpur’s Vindyavasini Verma contributed to the struggle for Independence by marching shoulder to shoulder with Mahatma Gandhi from the Champaran Satyagraha to the Quit India Movement. Today, the arrogant BJP government is changing the name of the park built in his name. This is an insult to freedom fighters,” she wrote in Hindi on her Facebook wall.
Congress leaders have threatened to stage a protest on the issue.
Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu tweeted, “Renaming the Vindyavasini Park, built before Independence in the name of the great freedom fighter Vindyavasini Prasad Verma, is an insult to the entire freedom struggle and is a condemnable act by the state government.”
BJP MLC Devendra Pratap Singh has also opposed the move, and sent letters to the state government, requesting it not to change the name.
Located in the heart of Gorakhpur, the sprawling and lush green Vindyavasini Park has been a favourite destination for morning walkers and couples.
The park was originally known as Hui Park (pronounced as Vhi) after Queen Victoria and later renamed after Vindyavasini Verma, who quit his law practice to join the freedom struggle on the non-cooperation call given by Mahatma Gandhi.
A ‘Sangharsh Morcha’, comprising activists and local leaders , has also been constituted to fight the move and its members plan to organise a series of protests, street plays, signature campaign to mobilise people to join the movement against renaming of the historical park.
“In 1922, Gandhiji’s rallies were organised in Gorakhpur at two separate places –Vindyavasini Park (then known as Hui Park) and the Bale Mia Ka Maidan. The rally at the park was organised with the support of local freedom fighters and Vindyavasini Prasad took the lead. After Independence, the park was named after him,” said Virendra Nayak, former president of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University students’ union.
Nayak, who is leading the Sangharsh Morcha, said, “His (Verma’s) name was mentioned by Gandhiji in his autobiography, My Experiments With Truth, showing how important his contribution to the country’s freedom was. He went on to become chairman of the Nagar Palika and got the current building of the Municipal Corporation built. So, changing the name of the park will only be an insult to the great freedom fighter and will not be accepted at any cost.”
Zila udyan adhikari (district horticulture officer) Baljeet Singh said, “Although the park is popular among people as Vindyavasini Park, there is no official document to support the claim that this was its original name. In official works, the park has been referred to as Rajkiya Udyan and soon a new board will be placed here carrying the name Hanuman Poddar Udyan.”
He added that he did not know about the signboard which carried the name Vindyavasini Park.