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Thursday, September 24, 2020

‘Experienced similar taunts from govt officers’: P Chidambaram on Kanimozhi’s CISF incident

Taking to Twitter, the former finance minister said that whatever happened with the DMK leader was not unusual.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 10, 2020 6:33:02 pm
Chidambaram, Chidambaram on Hindi language, Hindi imposition, Kanimozhi Hindi imposition, India news, Indian Express Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram claimed that he had also experience similar taunts from government officers who asked him to converse in Hindi. (Express file)

A day after DMK MP Kanimozhi said that a CISF officer questioned her nationality when she asked the woman official to speak in Tamil or English at the Chennai airport, Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram claimed he had also experienced similar taunts from government officers.

Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said whatever happened with the DMK leader was not unusual. “I have experienced similar taunts from government officers and ordinary citizens who insisted that I speak in Hindi during telephone conversations and sometimes face to face,” he tweeted.

Chidambaram further said if the Centre genuinely maintained that both Hindi and English are the official languages of India, then they must insist all Central government agencies and it’s employees to converse in both the languages.

“Non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional, spoken Hindi. Why cannot Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts learn functional, spoken English?” he questioned.

On Sunday, Kanimozhi took to Twitter and narrated the incident that happened at the Chennai airport. “Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if ‘I am an Indian’ when I asked her to speak to me in Tamil or English as I did not know Hindi,” she tweeted, and questioned from when being Indian was equal to knowing Hindi.

Soon after her tweet, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) sought details from her soon after and said it had “ordered an enquiry into the matter”.

Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram also condemned the incident and said, “Outright ridiculous. Highly condemnable. A linguistic test , what next? @CISFHQrs should respond!”

Recently, DMK President M K Stalin said the Centre’s new National Education Policy (NEP) was an attempt at “imposition” of Hindi and Sanskrit. “With education placed in the State List, the Centre will assume the remaining rights of the states and take in its control (aspects ranging) from syllabus to university,” Stalin had said. “This is an attack on the federal structure being underscored by the Constitution of India,” he said.

The debate over “imposition of Hindi” was triggered after a committee under then Human Resource and Development Ministry, in a draft report on the New Education Policy in January last year, recommended Hindi as a compulsory language to be taught in schools across the country till Class 10.

Facing flak from various quarters, especially the southern states, the Centre dropped the contentious clause of mandatory Hindi teaching in a revised draft in June.

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