Lok Sabha passes the J&K Official Languages Bill, 2020

A video grab of National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament, in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Lok Sabha passed the J&K Official Languages Bill, 2020 that seeks to include Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as the official languages in the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, only English and Urdu were the official languages in the former State.

Also read | Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi added to Jammu and Kashmir official languages list

Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference (NC) said five official languages will confuse the bureaucracy. He asked why the Centre was hurrying the legislation as the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 that split the former State into two Union Territories, and another legislation that read down Article 370 of the Constitution, has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the verdict was awaited. He said Urdu was a link language between J&K and Ladakh.

Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said that as per the Census of 2011, only 0.16% of the population in J&K spoke Urdu, which has remained the sole official language.

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He stated that over 56% population in the State understands and speaks Kashmiri and it had still not been recognised as an official language. Mr. Reddy termed it a “historical blunder”, adding that such blunders of the past 50 years would now be fixed under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said even in a small U.T. such as Puducherry, there were five official languages, which included French and Telugu. Since many Opposition parties have boycotted the Parliament proceedings over the farm Bills issue, Pinaki Misra of the Biju Janta Dal asked how many Punjabi speakers were there in J&K and why it was not one of the official languages. Mr. Reddy responded that there was a provision for an academy to promote Punjabi, Gojri and Pahadi.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 12:17:54 PM |

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