Language war: Pro-Kannada activists to team up with DMK to protest ‘imposition of Hindi’

Pro-Kannada organisations were up in arms against the DMK and other Tamil organisations last year over sharing of Cauvery water.
Metro authorities covered up a Hindi sign at the Kempgowda Majestic Metro station in Bengaluru, on July 3, 2017.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Metro authorities covered up a Hindi sign at the Kempgowda Majestic Metro station in Bengaluru, on July 3, 2017.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Updated on Jul 03, 2017 08:43 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bengaluru | ByVikram Gopal

Protests over use of Hindi signages in Bengaluru Metro are breaking barriers with organisations that were up in arms against each other over Cauvery water sharing dispute are now teaming up to oppose the “imposition” of the language.

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedika (KRV), a pro-Kannada organisation, which spearheaded a violent protest against Tamil Nadu last year over the water dispute, has now approached a political party of the neighbouring state to bolster its anti-Hindi movement.

The KRV activists had set on fire Tamil Nadu registered trucks after the Supreme Court had directed the Karnataka government to release Cauvery river water to the neighbouring state.

Burying the hatchet, the KRV leaders are now in touch with the local unit of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to protest, what it called, the imposition of Hindi.

It is also trying to get support from pro-Telugu and pro-Malayalam organisations of the state.

Senior KRV member Sanneerappa has confirmed approaching the DMK saying they are in touch with the local unit of the party.

N Ramaswami, a leader of the DMK’s state unit, too indicated the party is ready to join hands with its erstwhile bête noire.

“The Cauvery issue is in the court and we cannot do anything about it. However, the DMK has always been at the forefront of protests against the imposition of Hindi,” he told the HT.

The protests over alleged imposition of Hindi erupted in the state recently over usage of Hindi in the metro rail’s signboards in the city, prompting even Karanataka chief minister Siddaramaiah to oppose the move.

Since majority of funding for the metro came from the state, it was not a central government project and thus does not qualify for the three-language usage policy, the chief minister said, condemning use of Hindi along with Kannada and English.

Amid the protests, officials of the Kempegowda Metro Station on Sunday put tape on the Hindi signages to avert any untoward incident.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) MN Anucheth said security has been beefed up around metro stations, though he refused to admit there were threats.

Recent remarks of Union minister Venkaiah Naidu in favour of Hindi too did not go down well with the pro-Kannada activists.

“Hindi as Rashtra Bhasha (national language) is very important, we cannot do without it...Most people in our country speak Hindi, so learning Hindi is also important... but we should be fluent in our mother language like Gujarati, Marathi, Bhojpuri...,” Naidu said.

Taking objection to the statement, Sannerappa said if Hindi is so important then the “central government should not depend on the taxes paid by southern states.”

“……we will refuse to pay (taxes) if the government is keen on imposing Hindi,” he said.

The pro-Kannada activists accused the BJP of imposing Hindi in the state.

“For the first time in the state’s history, a governor addressed a joint session of the legislature in Hindi. What else is this if not imposition of Hindi?” Sanneerappa asked.

The KRV also planned to launch a campaign against state’s BJP leaders, particularly Union minister Ananth Kumar, whom it accused of backing Hindi.

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