The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) cadres were detained Wednesday for blackening the Hindi words on the railway station board near Gudiyatham in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu.
The protest from the DMK cadres is seen as a reaction to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s pitch to make Hindi as the unifying language of India. The cadres led by R Gnanaprakasam, the coordinator of DMK IT Wing in Gudiyatham assembly constituency, marched towards the town’s railway station with black flags and placards to show their protest.
A video of the party workers raising slogans against any attempts at Hindi imposition went viral on social media. “We don’t need Hindi… We oppose Hindi… We condemn Hindi… Don’t impose Hindi on us…,” the cadres were seen shouting in the video. The Gudiyatham police said a case has been registered against 25 DMK cadres, including the coordinator, and they have been detained in a marriage hall.
On Sunday, DMK leader MK Stalin had called for a state-wide protest on September 20 against Amit Shah’s call to impose Hindi across the country. He said the agitation was the first phase of protest and that further course of action will be decided based on the Centre’s response and discussions with like-minded parties. However, hours after Shah clarified he never pitched for the imposition of Hindi, Stalin said the party’s proposed protest has been postponed.
Like DMK, many political leaders across the country and in Tamil Nadu, including BJP’s allies AIADMK and PMK, warned the Centre of dire consequences if they try to impose Hindi.
Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam leader Kamal Haasan said the battle for the Tamil language will be “exponentially bigger” than the Jallikattu protest. “Unity in diversity is a promise we made when we made India into a Republic. Now, no Shah, Sultan or Samrat should relent on that promise. We respect all languages, but our mother language will always be Tamil,” he said.
Commenting on the Home Minister’s ‘One Nation One Language’ push, actor Rajinikanth who is often believed to have an affiliation towards the saffron party said a ‘common language is not possible in India’.
Speaking to reporters at the Chennai airport on Wednesday, he said, “A common language in any country will help its unity and development. Unfortunately, it is not possible in India. The imposition of any language, especially Hindi will not be accepted by states in the south and even some in North India.”