Since the second day of the all-India general strike called by 11 trade unions on February 20 and 21 coincides with International Mother Language Day, the West Bengal unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions proposed here on Tuesday that it be observed as an industrial strike.

“We are proposing that February 20 be observed as a general strike. But February 21, which is International Mother Language Day and is celebrated in West Bengal, should be observed as an industrial strike,” Shyamal Chakraborty, the president of the State unit of the CITU, told journalists. Mr. Chakraborty said that the issue will be raised at a meeting of the leadership of the Central unions to be held in Siliguri on February 7.  Proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference, the International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since 2000. But the day has been commemorated in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) for much longer, marking the anniversary of the day in 1952 on which several students were shot dead by the police during protests to demand that Bengali be included as one of the official languages of the country.