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After protests, Southern Rly takes back language order

The Southern Railway had issued a circular asking station masters and train operation controllers to communicate in Hindi or in English and not in regional languages to avoid any miscommunication. On Friday, the circular was withdrawn.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2019 21:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Southern railway,hindi usage,K. Stalin
The Railways has asked its employees to communicate in such a manner so as not to result in any misunderstanding of the messages.(Ramesh Pathania / HT Photo/ Representative Image)

Faced with protests from political parties and railway employees, Southern Railway on Friday withdrew a circular mandating all station masters to communicate with divisional control rooms only in Hindi or English, avoiding the use of local languages.

Published in a section of media two days ago, the circular was withdrawn after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) slammed it as another attempt at “imposing” Hindi. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) too panned the move.The All India Station Masters Association and the All India Railwaymen’s Federation also registered their protest.

The circular was issued in May, days after a reported language issue between two station masters in Madurai district led to two trains running on the same track. Three officials were suspended over the incident. At that time, there was a vociferous demand to recruit only those having a knowledge of Tamil.

Terming the Southern Railway move “arrogant”, DMK president M K Stalin alleged that the circular amounted to imposing Hindi and destroying the local language. “They are repeatedly playing with the sentiments of Tamils... If such cheap orders are not stopped immediately, we will put a full stop to them,” Stalin posted on Facebook in Tamil.

DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran presented a memorandum to Southern Railway officials. The officials assured them of withdrawing the circular with “immediate effect”. Maran told reporters the DMK would “make any sacrifice” to prevent what he said was the imposition of Hindi in Tamil Nadu.

Southern Railway officials clarified that the circular was “purely internal” and issued to avoid any communication problem.


First Published: Jun 14, 2019 17:40 IST