The decision to make Malayalam a mandatory subject in schools in the State from this academic year is set to turn into a major row with Karnataka Samiti here warning of an intensified agitation. It is seeking the revoking of the order with immediate effect.

“The previous Left Democratic Front Government's decision to make Malayalam a mandatory subject in schools has caused a great deal of uncertainty among students of the Kannada-speaking linguistic minorities in this border district. We hope the new government will set things right by rescinding the May 6 order with immediate effect,” V.B. Kakkillaya, honorary president of the Karnataka Samiti toldThe Hinduon Saturday.

  The decision taken shortly after the Assembly elections was “unwarranted” as the students of Kannada-medium schools will have to learn Malayalam in addition to the Kannada syllabus, he said.

The present order would cut short the existing five hours teaching period a week to three hours, with the remaining two hours spent to learn Malayalam. This would overburden the students and would in all probability affect their overall academic performance, Mr. Kakkillaya predicted. He said the samiti, which looks after issues concerning Kannada-speaking linguistic minorities in the border district, staged a daylong agitation before the District Collectorate here on May 25 as a token of protest and it would intensify the stir if the government fails to revoke the order.

Barring the CPI(M), all major political parties here have expressed strong support to the samiti. The Indian Union Muslim League MLA, N.A. Nellikkunnu, has assured us that he will take up the issue with the State Government shortly, Mr. Kakkillaya said.

According to available data, students of Kannada-medium schools in the district have begun to migrate to schools in Karnataka to avoid the hassle, he said.

He added that the samiti was exploring strategies, including making Kannada-medium students boycott classes when the schools reopen next month.


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