Pro-Kannada organisations have threatened to launch protests against three BJP MPs from Bengaluru over Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited’s (BMRCL) use of Hindi along with Kannada and English in trains and stations. This comes after the MPs — Union ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and H N Ananth Kumar and P C Mohan — backed the three-language policy implemented by BMRCL on directions of the Union Urban Development Ministry.
President of Karnataka Rakshna Vedike, T A Narayana Gowda, has threatened to launch a protest in which Hindi signages at stations would be defaced. B Sanneerappa, the outfit’s secretary, said they would start a campaign against Kumar and Gowda. “All of them are supporting the use of Hindi here. We will start a campaign against them and write to them, asking them to change their stand,’’ Sanneerappa said.
The state-linked Kannada Development Authority wrote to BMRCL on Thursday, asking it to stop the use of Hindi. “There is an order since 1963 that all state government institutes and offices have to follow the two-language system, and hence the order from the Union Ministry of Urban Development issued on December 9, 2016 to follow a three-language system on the metro must be cancelled,” KDA chairman S G Siddaramaiah wrote.
The old row over use of Hindi in metro facilities has come to a boil since whole of the first phase, about 42 km long, became operational on June 17. A week ago, Hindi words on signages at Kempegowda and Chickpet stations were masked. CM Siddaramaiah initially backed the pro-Kannada activists and questioned the three language policy. BMRCL MD Pradeep Singh Kharola told him that the three languages were being used as per directions of the Centre, which has partly funded the project. The CM then assured protesters that a decision on the issue would be taken after studying the policy followed by other states in metro services.
On Thursday, Union minister Gowda had told the media: “Kannada must get first preference since it is the state language. Since a majority of Indians speak Hindi, it should be the second language. English as an international language should also be there,’’