Public interest litigation (PIL) was filed on Wednesday in the Bombay High Court challenging the Maharashtra government’s decision to change the name of Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar.
The petition filed by Mohammed Mushtaq Ahmed, Annasaheb Khandare and Rajesh More, all residents of Aurangabad, is likely to be heard by the HC on August 1.
Notably, the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government under Uddhav Thackeray had decided to rename the city Sambhajinagar in its last cabinet meeting on June 29 this year.
The new government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde earlier this month passed a fresh proposal that will see Marathwada’s biggest city being called ‘Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar’.
The petition claimed that in 2001, the state government made an attempt to change the name of Aurangabad city but it was aborted.
However, the previous government led by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray unauthorisedly at its fag end raised the issue of changing the name of Aurangabad in the last cabinet meeting for “political considerations”, the plea claimed.
The present government led by CM Eknath Shinde re-affirmed the decision without taking into consideration public sentiments and in complete disregard to provisions of the Constitution, the plea further said.
The city of Aurangabad is part of history and has a rich culture, and political parties like the Shiv Sena have been trying to change the name to gain political mileage, the plea further claimed.
“The purpose behind changing the name of Aurangabad is to spread hatred among the community towards Muslims so as to gain political advantage,” the petition alleged.