A tribal organization, Adivasi Sengel Abhiyan (ASA) on Monday demanded that Santali language, which has been recognized under the 8th schedule of the constitution, be accorded the status of first official language in tribal-populated Jharkhand. Addressing a press conference here on the occasion of International Mother Language Day on Tuesday, ASA President and former MP Salkhan Murmu said Santali language was a major language being spoken by the tribals in various parts of the country, including Jharkhand.
Though the language was recognized under the 8th schedule of the Constitution, it has not yet been given its due place in Jharkhand, which was carved out of Bihar in 2000 to fulfill the aspirations of the tribal community “but unfortunately, the interest of the community was being ignored by the subsequent governments”, he said.
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Santali language should be recognized as second official language in tribal-populated states, including West Bengal, Odisha and Bihar, he said. The tribal leader criticized JMM supremo Sibu Soren for ignoring the Santali language while promoting Urdu as the official language of the state during his tenure as Chief Minister.
Based on their population, Murmu also demanded that other tribal languages such Munda, Kuruk, Ho and Kharia also be accorded the status of official language in the districts, where these languages are being spoken largely. Regarding amendment made by the Raghubar Das-led government in decades-old Chhotanagpur and Santal Paragana Tenancy Act (CNT and SPT), Murmu said a strong resentment was prevailing among the tribal community as they were apprehensive about losing their land..
The ASA will be organizing meetings in all the five divisions of the state from February 25 to garner support against the amendment made in the tenancy act before the proposed rally to be organized in Ranchi on April 7, he added.