Kasargod: The majority of the five-lakh linguistic minority population in Kasargod district still nurse the desire to be a part of Karnataka. “We are alienated by the dominance of Malayalam in terms of language, culture and governance. We are the original Tulu people and we are living in our heartland but as second-class citizens,” lamented B. Purushotama, president of Kannada Samanyuaya Samiti, an umbrella wing of pro-Kannada organisations in Kasargod.
Mr Purushotama, 77, a retired teacher, alleged that though the rights of linguistic minorities are guaranteed by the Constitution and present in several government orders, nothing was being done. “Government officials are indifferent towards us. We cannot write Kerala PSC exams as the question paper is in Malayalam only,” he said. Another reason cited is that as Kasargod becomes the dumping yard of punished officials from southern Kerala, they knew nothing about Kannada or Tulu people. “Even in meetings, they cannot understand what general public is speaking in Kannada or Tulu,” he pointed out.
Alleging that both the UDF and the LDF are indifferent towards linguistic minorities’ issues, Mr Purushotama hoped that the BJP would do something better. “When the issue of KPSC exams in Malayalam arose, the BJP was with us demanding to include questions in Kannada also. It is our hope that a BJP MLA from Manjeshwar or Kasargod would be sensitive to our demands,” he said. But he was quick to add that their major demand was to have an MLA from Kannada linguistic minority community irrespective of party.