Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren (HT File)
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren (HT File)

Soren’s remark on local languages creates stir, BJP accuses CM of ‘polarisation’

In a recent interview with the Hindustan Times on Sunday, the Jharkhand chief minister (CM) desribed Bhojpuri and Magahi languages as “imported languages from Bihar”, besides underlining that people, who allegedly raped women during Jharkhand’s separate statehood Jharkhand, “used to abuse in Bhojpuri”.
By HT Correspondent, Ranchi
PUBLISHED ON SEP 14, 2021 09:28 PM IST

strap: Ex-Cong minister describes statement unconstitutional

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday hit out at chief minister Hemant Soren over his remark on regional languages spoken in the state, and non-inclusion of few of them such as Bhojpuri and Magahi in examination syllabus for grade 3 and 4 government jobs under the recently notified employment policy of the state.

In a recent interview with the Hindustan Times on Sunday, the Jharkhand chief minister (CM) desribed Bhojpuri and Magahi languages as “imported languages from Bihar”, besides underlining that people, who allegedly raped women during Jharkhand’s separate statehood Jharkhand, “used to abuse in Bhojpuri”.

Hitting out at Soren, former minister and BJP legislator Bhanu Pratap Shahi alleged that the CM was trying to create friction and “polarise” the populace on the basis of language.

“Earlier, the JMM (CM Soren’s party) tried to polarise on the basis of religion by allotting Namaz room in Vidhan Sabha and including Urdu as a regional language. However, they removed Hindi from the merit list paper in employment policy, and also did not include languages such as Bhojpuri, Magahi and Angika in it. And now, he is terming Bhojpuri as language of rapists. The BJP condemns it. If Bhojpuri and Magahi are not regional languages, has not Urdu come from Pakistan? The CM is now trying to polarise people on grounds of language. This is unconstitutional for a CM to make such a remark,” said Shahi at a press conference called by the BJP at its state headquarters here.

The BJP legislator also challenged the Congress and the RJD, the alliance partners in the Hemant Soren government, to make their stand clear on the issue.

“There are several legislators from the ruling combine who speak Bhojpuri. Is the CM also terming them rapists? JMM’s Mithilesh Thakur should comment on this issue. Earlier, he had demanded to include Bhojpuri and Magahi in the employment policy. Congress legislator Dipika Pandey Singh also demanded inclusion of these languages. Several other Congress legislators speak Bhojpuri and Magahi. What does the RJD has to say on this?,” said Shahi.

Several other BJP leaders, including former CM Raghubar Das and party’s state unit president Deepak Prakash, hit out at the CM for his remark.

The ruling JMM, however, defended the CM’s remark. Principal general secretary and party spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya said there was nothing wrong in the remark.

“We stand by his statement. A big population in the state speak Urdu, Bengali and Oriya, while very few people speak Bhojpuri and Magahi,” said Bhattacharya.

While the Congress was yet to make it’s official stand clear on the issue, senior party leader and former minister KN Tripathi described Soren’s statement unconstitutional.

“His statement is unconstitutional and against the dignity of the chief minister’s chair,” said Tripathi, who earlier represented Daltonganj assembly seat that is part of Palamu division, where Bhojpuri and Magahi are predominant local languages.

While there is no official data on the number of people who speak regional languages in the state, Bhojpuri, Magahi and Angika are spoken in several districts across the state, especially those bordering Bihar such as Palamu, Garhwa, Latehar, Chatra, Hazaribag, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Giridih, Deoghar, Sahibganj and Godda.

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