CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has opened a front against the Modi government by getting a resolution passed in the state Assembly against the "imposition" of Hindi.
The development has heated up the state politics, which could possibly escalate the dispute over language.
Criticising the report submitted by the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language, headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to President Droupadi Murmu, the DMK leader has warned of a repeat of the 1960s agitation in the state against the Hindi language.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language and Lok Sabha MP, has accused the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister of "misleading" the people, while Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has accused Stalin of doing politics over the issue.
"Hindi is our official language but there is no intention to impose it on the whole country," Joshi told IANS.
Describing English as a colonial language, she said, "Our intention is not to impose Hindi, but to promote regional languages along with Hindi and constrain the use of English.
"Each state is free to promote its own regional or mother tongue, but all should focus on minimising the use of the English language," Joshi further said.
The BJP MP also asserted that the promotion of Hindi and regional languages would benefit the people living in rural areas of different states.
Slamming the hate campaign against the Hindi language, Joshi said that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is "misleading the people by making it a political issue" and his attitude is "unfortunate".
Similarly, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, while speaking to IANS, accused Stalin of doing politics and said, "All the languages of India are the national languages of the country, Tamil is also a national language for us and the government is not trying to impose one language on another, rather it is trying to promote the mother tongue of every region."
Commenting on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Pradhan said that he neither wants to give any political response on the issue nor does he want to do any politics. "Those who want to do politics on this issue may do so," he added.
Clarifying the Centre's stand over the issue, Pradhan said that no language will be imposed on the other language; even in the new National Education Policy, stress has been laid on imparting education in the mother tongue itself. Efforts are being made to promote the Hindi language in Hindi-speaking areas, and regional and local languages in other areas.