The Telangana assembly on Thursday passed a bill making Urdu its official second language. Urdu has been accorded the official language status thanks to a substantial Urdu-speaking population spread across all the 31 districts.
The Telangana Official Languages (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed unanimously in the state legislative assembly. Urdu was declared the second official language as per section 2 of the Telangana Official Languages Act, 1966. The bill makes Urdu the official second language in nine districts out of 10 with an exception of Khammam, of the Telangana region before bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh, as per the statement of objects and reasons of the bill.
After the formation of Telangana state in 2014, the 10 districts were reorganised into 31 districts last year. The percentage of Urdu-speaking population has increased to 12.69 of the total population in the state, the statement said.
Hailing the bill, MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi said that justice was not done towards Urdu earlier and recalled the efforts of his father, late MIM leader Salahuddin Owaisi, and others for "protection and conservation" of the language.
Main opposition Congress member T Jeevan Reddy welcomed the bill, but pointed out certain issues concerning the Urdu Academy and others which were countered by Deputy Chief Minister Mahmood Ali and Legislative Affairs Minister Harish Rao. BJP floor leader G Kishan Reddy said Urdu was made the second official language in nine districts of the Telangana region in 1966 itself.
"Telangana is the first state to make Urdu as the second official language as Delhi gave that status to Urdu along with Punjabi. The opposition is trying to say that there is nothing new in the bill, but the entire state is taken as a unit now," said Telangana minister, Harish Rao.