Protesters blacken Hindi at metro stations

Karnataka Rakshana Vedika members attempt to black paint the Hindi signage at a metro station in Bengaluru on Thursday.  

The controversy over the use of Hindi on signboards at Namma Metro stations reared its head yet again on Wednesday. Social activists blackened Hindi in signboards outside several stations and staged protests early in the morning while commuters were trying to get to work. Around 25 activists of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) were detained and police presence was strengthened in sensitive areas.

At Indiranagar station, protesters pasted posters requesting Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) to stop using Hindi in signboards. A group of KRV activists staged a protest outside Rajajinagar station. The jurisdictional police requested them to disperse as it was causing fear among commuters. When they refused, they were detained. A similar protest was staged outside Mysuru Road station as well.

Though no complaint has been filed by the BMRCL, police presence has been strengthened at all stations as a precautionary measure.

In June, KRV started the #NammaMetroHindiBeda campaign and submitted a memorandum to BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola.

Arun Javagal, who heads the IT wing of the KRV, said activists defaced the signage at a few stations as a ‘last resort’. He said that KRV's T.A. Narayana Gowda has been requesting BMRCL for more than five years to ensure that all signage are only in English and Kannada. "The Kannada Development Authority has also issued a notice to BMRCL after we initiated the #NammaMetroHindiBeda campaign. We were expecting some corrective action by BMRCL," he told The Hindu.

Mr. Kharola refused to comment on the issue.

KDA ups ante against BMRCL

The Kannada Development Authority (KDA), which had directed BMRCL on July 6 to follow a two-language policy, had given the corporation 15 days to remove Hindi from public information systems.

KDA Chairman S.G. Siddaramaiah said people will not accept neglect of Kannada. “We will conduct a complete audit on implementation of Kannada in BMRCL, including in recruitment and administration. Even minor violations will be dealt with severely,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 5:31:25 AM |

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