Jayalalithaa, BJP allies in TN oppose NDA govt move on Hindi

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BJP allies oppose NDA govt move on Hindi
Chennai, June 20: NDA government's proposal to give prominence to Hindi in official accounts in social media has met with stiff opposition in Tamil Nadu with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and even BJP allies joining DMK chief Karunanidhi in slamming the move, voicing fears of "imposition" of the language on non-Hindi speaking sections.

Firing off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa described the Home Ministry's proposal as "against the letter and spirit" of the Official Languages Act, 1963," while pointing out that the "highly sensitive issue" caused "disquiet" to the people of Tamil Nadu "who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage".

Social media by their very nature were not only accessible to all persons on the internet, but were meant to be a means of communication to persons living in all parts of India, including those in 'Region C', she said.

"People located in 'Region C' with whom the Government of India's communication needs to be in English, will not have access to such public information if it is not in English. This move would therefore be against the letter and spirit of the Official Languages Act, 1963," she said.

DMK President M Karunanidhi, whose party had successfully led the anti-Hindi agitation in 1960s, had dubbed the move as a beginning of "imposition of Hindi". The issue is credited as one of the reasons for DMK forming the state's first non-Congress government in independent India.

The 90-year-old leader had questioned why Hindi should be given priority over other languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. "Giving priority to Hindi will be construed as a first step towards an attempt at creating differences among non-Hindi speaking people and making them second class citizens," he said.

The BJP government's move found no favour with two of its Tamil Nadu allies also, with both PMK and MDMK opposing it. PMK founder S Ramadoss said the BJP in its election 2014 manifesto, had promised to develop all languages with rich history and culture.

He also called for declaring all 22 langauges in the VIII schedule of the Constitution, including Tamil, as official language and "thus put an end to the Hindi imposition controversy."

Attempts to 'impose' Hindi in the past have been successfully resisted with, though attempts were later made to do the same, he said while terming the latest move as a "softer version" of the imposition of Hindi.

PTI

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