The West Bengal government on Thursday decided to recognise six languages other than Bengali as those spoken by linguistic minorities in the state.
“We have taken a decision to notify Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, Oriya, Santhali and Gurmukhi as the language of the linguistic minorities so that work can be done in these languages wherever there is scope,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters on Thursday.
She said Urdu would be treated as the second language in districts where its speakers comprised at least 10% of the population.
More than 30% of the population in some districts speak Hindi.
Banerjee said though the previous Left Front government recognised religious minorities, they had not done anything to recognise the linguistic minorities in the state.
The chief minister said she chose this day to ann-ounce the welfare schem-es for minorities as it happened to be the 112th birth anniversary of Bengal’s famous poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Not much research had been done on the life and works of Nazrul Islam, Banerjee said, adding a decision had been taken to set up a Nazrul Acedemy to encourage better research on him.
“The academy will conduct research into Nazrul’s writings and music so that the coming generations can know of his contributions,” she said.