' By Suad Hamada (Our correspondent)

31 January 2008

MANAMA - Municipal Councillor Abdulmajeed Al Saba claimed yesterday the Bahrain government plans to change the names of two historic localities in Manama without seeking consent of the residents.

He said that there were plans to change the names of Al Mahooz and Segaya localities gradually, but such move wouldn’t be tolerated by councillors and the residents. He explained, "Al Mahooz was named after its Shia religious schools, while Segaya was named after famous well in the area."

Al Saba called upon the government to involve people in its plans, especially when it comes to matters related to their traditions and heritage. "Road signs that mentioned the names of the localities were removed and in the ID cards of the residents of these localities were replaced with Manama.

"Although we raised the issue last year in the local Press and contacted the bodies concerned in the government, we didn’t receive any response and that has given rise to our suspicions," he said.

"I highlighted the issue to avoid disturbances in the area as the residents of the two localities are threatening to protest against the move," he explained. He added, "Unfortunately all evidences make us believe that the government is really going to change the names of these localities, similar to what happened in another area, such as Karbabad that was changed to Al Seef district. Removal of signs bearing the names of the localities is causing inconvenience to those not familiar with the areas, especially expatriates and tourists."