‘New battlefield’: Pinarayi Vijayan hits out at Amit Shah over Hindi tweet
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday derided Union home minister Amit Shah’s push for Hindi as India’s national language as “a new battlefield in the name of language.”
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s Hindi agenda push despite nationwide protest needs to be seen as Sangh Parivar’s signs to launch a new battlefield in the name of language. The perception that only Hindi can unite the country is completely wrong. People in the south and the north-east don’t speak Hindi,” Vijayan wrote in a Facebook post.
Shah’s tweet on ‘Hindi Diwas’ that a common language would become “the mark of India’s identity globally” had sparked a firestorm of protest in the South with the ruling AIADMK and DMK in Tamil Nadu closing ranks. DMK chief M K Stalin said “This is India not Hindia” in response to Shah’s tweet and warned that the imposition of Hindi as national language “will affect the unity of the country”.
Watch: Amit Shah’s ‘Hindi a unifier’ appeal stirs row, opposition call it ‘a bid to impose’
Tamil Nadu’s education minister KA Sengottaiyan asserted that the state is wedded to the teaching of two language formula (mother tongue Tamil and English).
The Congress said no attempt should be made to tinker with the “three-language formula” - commonly understood to comprise Hindi, English and a regional language of the respective states.
Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy also took a swipe at the Centre asking, “When will Narendra Modi celebrate Kannada language day, as it is also a Scheduled language as per the Constitution, alongside Hindi.”
Another former chief minister of Karnataka and Congress leader Siddaramaiah was even more direct in his attack. “Let there be a stop to the lie that Hindi is the national language,” he said.
Siddaramaiah’s said the opposition was not against Hindi but against the forceful imposition of the language.
India uses Hindi and English as official languages at the national level and 22 scheduled languages at the state level, but does not have any national language.