Never sought to impose Hindi over regional languages: Amit Shah

New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS): Amid rising clamour against talks of making Hindi the common language of the country, Union Home Minister Amit Shah clarified in Ranchi on Wednesday that he never sought to impose it over regional languages.

Shah accused opposition parties of playing politics over his recent statement on having one language for the country which becomes India's global identity.

"If one wants to do politics, they are free to do so. I only requested that if there is a second language being learnt it should be Hindi. I myself come from a non-Hindi state," Shah told a news channel.

Sharp political reactions had followed from opposition parties, particularly from those of Southern India, after Shah's remarks on the occasion of Hindi Diwas on September 14.

On September 14, Shah had tweeted and reiterated at a function later in New Delhi that "India is a nation of many languages and every language has its own importance. But it is absolutely necessary to have one language for the country, which becomes India's identity globally. If there is any one language that connects the entire nation in a common thread of unity, it is Hindi, which is spoken the maximum.

Protests had broken out in parts of South India, including Kerala and Karnataka, following Shah's statement on Hindi Diwas that was perceived as an attempt to impose the language all across the country.

BJP's main opposition political party Congress had said that the formula of 'one-nation-one-language' can never be a reality in a diverse country like India. "We are not against Hindi but certainly against its imposition on our people, majority of whose mother tongue are regional languages," Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, respectively, opposition parties had termed the comments as a 'war cry' against non-Hindi speaking people. DMK President M.K. Stalin had warned of protests across the country while Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had termed it as a needless controversy planned to divert attention away from the economic crisis.

The CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had said that all languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution should be treated equally and that imposition of Hindi would lead to a negative reaction in the country.


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