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Centre's move to popularise Hindi rakes up controversy

New Delhi: Two Home Ministry circulars seeking to promote official language Hindi in the social media has raked up a controversy with DMK accusing the Centre of imposing the language on non-Hindi speaking sections.

While the government decision was attacked by DMK chief M Karunanidhi, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said he will promote use of Hindi in all official work and public life and his senior Rajnath Singh sought to down play the controversy by saying the Centre will promote all languages of the country.

Rajnath Singh

The Home Ministry's official language department had issued a circular on May 27 asking all Ministries and Departments, public sector undertakings and banks to give prominence to Hindi on official accounts in social media.

"...all officers and employees who operate official accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Google, Youtube should use Hindi and English languages. Prominence should be given to Hindi," Director, official language, Avadesh Kumar Mishra wrote in the directive.

Another circular announced prize money of Rs 2,000 to two employees who do their official work mostly in Hindi. Rs 1,200 and Rs 600 will be given to the second and third position holders respectively.

Taking strong exception to government decision, DMK Chief M Karunanidhi said it was the beginning of "imposition of Hindi".

"Giving priority to Hindi will be construed as a first step towards attempt at creating differences among non-Hindi speaking people and making them second class citizens," the 90-year old leader, whose party spearheaded the anti-Hindi agitation in the 1960s in the state, said in a statement in Chennai.

The DMK chief advised the Narendra Modi government instead to concentrate on social and economic development.

Joining issue, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju today said the new government will promote use of Hindi in all departments and public life. He also said that promotion of Hindi language should not be seen as "undermining" other languages.

"I have taken a decision that we will give priority to the promotion of Hindi in all communications in various departments and public life because it is our official language," Rijiju told reporters here. Asserting that the Centre will give due importance to all languages, he said, "We have to progress with our identity, culture, language and diversity. We have to move together.

So, promotion of Hindi language should not be seen as undermining other languages." Seeking to cool tempers, Rajnath Singh tweeted "The Home Ministry is of the view that all Indian languages are important. The Ministry is committed to promote all languages of the country".

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the Home Minister took note of the media reports that suggested government giving directive to use Hindi in official work. "The reports are incorrect and no such order has been issued," the spokesperson said.

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