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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
Rage over road name
Indian Mutiny
Sir Henry put down the mutiny in the 19th Century
Sikh campaigners in west London have called for a street named after a British military hero to be changed.

Havelock Road in Southall, west London, was named after Major-General Sir Henry Havelock.

He rose to prominence for his role during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 which threatened to end British rule.

But opponents say Sir Henry was a "bad" man in India and accuse him of killing innocent protesters.

Thousands killed

It is not the first time Sir Henry, a member of the 78th Highlanders, has been involved in controversy since his death.

Major-General Sir Henry Havelock
A statue of Sir Henry stood in Trafalgar Square
Two years ago London Mayor Ken Livingstone enraged Army associations and military historians when he demanded Sir Henry's statue be removed from Trafalgar Square, saying he "hadn't a clue" who he was.

Campaigners who want to change the name of the road say Havelock's men were responsible for killing thousands of Indian soldiers during the mutiny.

Some want to rename the street Gurdwara Road, after a 20m Sikh temple which is due to open there in the autumn.

Bad man

Amarjit Singh Dhillon, secretary of the temple, said there had been calls for the name of the road to be changed.

"Havelock was bad, there is no doubt about it.


I don't mind if they want to change the name of the road

Mark Havelock-Allan
"He killed so many innocent people who were protesting against the British Raj.

"But we are living in a multicultural society so we would consult the whole of Southall, Christians and not just Sikhs.

"We have heard some call for change but I personally don't believe the name needs changing."

Havelock's great-great grandson, Mark Havelock-Allan, 51, a judge, said: "I don't mind if they want to change the name of the road.

National acclaim

"That's up to them. But to do so because Havelock did bad things in India is a little bit revisionist and not at all accurate as far as Sikhs are concerned.

"Havelock had Sikhs under his command. Sikhs remained loyal to the British and Havelock admired them."

A spokesman for Ealing Council said no formal request had yet been received to change the road name.

Requests would normally only be considered if the name caused problems for residents, the postal service or the emergency services.

Sir Henry's actions in India earned him a knighthood and national acclaim.

He died of dysentery in 1857.


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18 Oct 01 | Americas
07 Sep 01 | Entertainment
02 Aug 01 | Scotland
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