Kerala govt denies move to change names of places in Kasaragod district

Yediyurappa on Monday wrote a letter to Vijayan requesting to not change the names

Bengaluru: Kerala government on Monday denied news reports that it was mulling to change names of certain places in Kasaragod district bordering Karnataka from Kannada to Malayalam.

Minister for Local Self-government M V Govindan Master's office denied the reports and said the Kerala government has not taken any step to change the names of any place in Kasaragod district.

Manjeshwaram MLA A K M Ashraf too said there was no move to change the names of the places. "This news is completely baseless. There was no move by the Kerala government to change the name of places," a senior source from the office of Master told PTI.

Ashraf, who took the oath as an IUML legislator in Kannada language, told PTI that it was fakenews. "Someone from Karnataka Border Development Authority has come up with the news. There are no plans to change the name of the places," Ashraf said.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday wrote a letter to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan requesting to not change the names of 12 villages in Kasaragod and Manjeshwara taluks in Kasaragod district, as the name change would "destroy Kannada and Tulu culture".

"The Kannada speaking areas of Kasargod District, in which Manjeshwara and Kasargod are situated are famous for their traditional culture and historical background...the existing manes were predominantly from Kannada and Tulu language. In some places, it is a mixture of Kannada and Tulu names. Some of the names of these villages have a long history of several centuries," the Karnataka Chief Minister said.

He pointed out that the change of names would affect the "feelings of people and their sentiments detrimentally".

"I feel that the Kerala government may not have the intention to change the names of these villages and this may have been a unilateral decision of the local bodies of these villages," said Yediyurappa.

He asked the Kerala CM to "oblige and make the Kannada-speaking people of Kasaragod and Manjeshwara happy by taking a decision to stall the process of changing the names."

Earlier on Monday, the Chairman of Karnataka Regional Border Development Authority Dr C Somashekhar met Yediyurappa and informed him that Kerala is going to change the names of some villages having Kannada names to Malayalam in the state's Kasaragod and Manjeswara districts.

The Karnataka CM responded immediately and said the matter had already been brought to his notice and will be conveyed to the government of Kerala.

"Some local bodies are attempting to change the names of Kannada-speaking villages in Kasargod district, Kerala, without any consultation with people. This would destroy Kannada and Tulu culture, which has been existing here for long," Dr C Somashekhar said.

CM said: "Kannadigas and Malayalees live together like brothers in Kasargodu and Manjeswara, prompting Kerala CM to stop the process of changing the names of villages in the state of Kerala."

Dr Somashekhar also told the CM that the attempt to change the names of the villages could have taken place at the level of the local bodies without the notice of the Government of Kerala.

Former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Sunday also expressed his opposition to the move and wrote a letter to Kerala Chief Minister urging him to halt the move.

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