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India’s ‘Trump Village’ draws backlash over unauthorized renaming

HARYANA: Locals in the Marora Village in Mewat district of Haryana named their village as ‘Trump Village’ in recognition to US President Donald Trump, but the renaming was short-lived when the district administration all new signboards, contending that the change was unauthorized.

The village got a new identity last month, when it was renamed “Trump Village” — reportedly in honour of the friendship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump — at a function organised by Sulabh International on June 18. A new signboard was put up outside the village. “Welcome to Trump Village,” it said.

Ten days later, the district administration removed the new signboard, saying the rules for changing a village’s name had not been followed. “Permission was not sought before changing the name. As per the rulebook, this cannot be done,” says Mani Ram Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Nuh. But the 140-odd families living in the village — mostly farmers and labourers — want to retain the new name. They say that it gave them a “new identity”, “recognition” and hope for “development”. And toilets.

“We repeatedly asked them not to hold this event, but they did not listen,” said Mani Ram Sharma, the deputy commissioner of the district where the farming village of about 600 is located. “They did not ask for any permission, and none would have been given if they had.”

The village elders — happy to have the attention, and perhaps the development dollars that came with it — gave their permission. Huge “Trump Village” billboards were erected with a grinning Trump’s name and likeness.
But Sharma quickly declared the rebranding “illegal” and ordered police to tear down the signs.

Trump Village

“It was all fictitious and a fraud event by the organizers aimed at collecting money across the country and abroad,” Sharma said in an earlier interview with the wire service IANS.

For now, the village has returned to its old name. The new signboard has been stored away. Another signboard has been painted blue, but left blank. Sulabh International has written to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, asking him to allow the name change. “We are not changing the name, just giving it a nickname. This will attract government and private entities to the village and bring in development,” says Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh.

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