With the beginning of six-day trip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India, the Indian government has dedicated an iconic Teen Murti Chowk in New Delhi to Israeli City Haifa. The name of Teen Murti Chowk has been changed to Teen Murti Haifa Chowk. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Netanyahu went to Teen Murti Chowk to pay tribute to soldiers who lost their life during World War I.
A government official said that the Teen Murti Chowk has been renamed as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, in the centenary year of the Battle for Haifa as a symbol of friendship between the people of India and Israel. It is said that the Israeli city Haifa was liberated from Ottoman occupation by Indian soldiers during World War I. A large number of Indian soldiers of the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade died during the battle to free the city and nearly 900 were buried in Israel.
September 23 is celebrated as Haifa Day in India and Israel every year as a mark of respect for the soldiers who lost their lives in the battle and to mark the end of 400 years of Turkish control over the city.
According to reports, the idea of renaming Teen Murti road and chowk after Haifa was proposed in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) council during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel last year, however, it was put on hold.
Demands to rename Teen Murti road and chowk have been made over the past few years by various right wing organisations, including RSS. Senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar had said in 2015 that the government should acknowledge the role played by the three regiments of the Indian Army in the Battle of Haifa in 1918.
According to the Ministry of Culture, a “wrong impression” has been built about the Teen Murti Chowk that it has something to do with Mahatma Gandhi. “The Teen Murti Chowk was named to mark the role of the three cavalry regiments. But no one knows this today. The moment people think of the Teen Murti they think of Gandhiji’s monkeys. This is a wrong impression that needs to be corrected,” it had earlier said.