The controversy over the use of Hindi in Namma Metro took a bizarre turn on Sunday as two stations, including Kempegowda interchange at Majestic, had Hindi words in the signage masked.
While no decision has been taken officially on removing Hindi from metro signage, this “extraordinary measure” of masking Hindi words became necessary to protect the station from being vandalised, sources said. The move came after Upparpet police got a tip-off that pro-Kannada organisations were planning to enter Kempegowda and Chickpete stations and blacken all signage in Hindi.”
“In order to prevent any untoward incident, the police reportedly advised Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) officials to do away with Hindi signboards,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the two stations had a heavy security cordon, with both the local police and Karnataka Industrial Security Force personnel on guard. “We were requested to provide security by the BMRCL and we have deployed our policemen besides the KISF personnel,” a senior police official said.
It is, however, not clear if the BMRCL wants to carry out this exercise across all stations with Hindi signage. BMRCL officials could not be reached despite several attempts.
On learning about Hindi words in the signage being masked at the two stations, the #NammaMetroHindiBeda campaign on social media picked up steam on Sunday. Metro users from neighbouring Maharashtra got influenced by it and #AapaliMetroHindiNako was trending in the evening.
The #NammaMetroHindiBeda campaign started in June-end against the “imposition” of Hindi in Bengaluru. It seeks removal of Hindi signboards from all Namma Metro stations and also stopping of announcements in Hindi in the metro.