Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.S. Alagiri has warned of protests against the BJP if the Centre insists on imposing Hindi in Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Alagiri slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he had “no essence” of democracy and it would not be possible to expect someone like him to ensure that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's promise on the language issue is kept.
In a statement, he said that when the anti-Hindi agitations broke out in Tamil Nadu in the 1960s, the DMK had just two MPs. “Yet, Prime Minister Nehru called one of them, E.V.K. Sampath, and within four hours issued a decree stating that the Indian government will not force Hindi on States that do not speak the language,” he said. Mr. Alagiri said Nehru had promised that Hindi will not be imposed on any State and English would be the additional language of administrative communication.
“Nehru promised that he will leave the decision on learning Hindi not to those who speak the language, but to those who do not,” the Congress leader said.
Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi had also brought in amendments to the language policy to ensure that the position put forward by Nehru was not altered, he said. He also criticised the proposed changes to the education policy, saying they would affect students from Tamil Nadu and put a question mark over their future. "I doubt whether the AIADMK government even has the guts to oppose all these [proposals]," he said.
Separately, Congress MP from Tiruvallur K. Jayakumar questioned why the BJP-led Central government was taking up delicate issues like the language policy within 48 hours of being sworn in. “In Tamil Nadu, we are very comfortable with the two-language formula – English and Tamil. We don’t need any other language. This is the strong stand of the State,” he said, adding that imposing a language would unnecessarily disturb peace in the country.