Bengaluru: Nearly a month after the social media campaign-Hindi Beda, Kannada Beku (No Hindi, only Kannada), Chief Minister Siddaramaiah backed these activists through a letter to the Union government to do away with Hindi in Metro stations.
Initially, the activists got a shot in the arm when Mr Siddaramaiah told reporters that he would oppose imposition of Hindi in Karnataka, prompting them to disfigure Hindi boards and signage at various Metro stations.
Subsequently, leaders including former Union minister Shashi Tharoor backed Karnataka's stand on opposing the use of Hindi. Discovering an opportunity to reap political gains, Mr Siddaramaiah finally shot off a letter to Union urban affairs minister Narendra Singh Tomar on the opposition to Hindi at Bengaluru Metro.
In his letter to Mr Narendra Singh Tomar, a copy of which was released to the media, Mr Siddaramaiah explained in detail why the state had to arrive at this decision. The Union government, he said, through a government order dated December 9, 2016, announced that that name boards and signages of Metro stations be listed in three languages, English Hindi and Kannada. He, however, explained in detail why the state has the right to take an independent decision in this regard. "Although both Government of India and Government of Karnataka have equal equity stake of 50:50 in Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), the financial contribution of the state government is much more than that of the Centre. Moreover, supervision of operations, providing security to BMRCL, is the responsibility of the state government. The state has undertaken to repay all loans contracted by BMRCL and also to bear operating losses. Therefore, it would be appropriate that policies of the state government are implemented in the project," he added in the letter.
He also stated that the issue could snowball into a law and order problem when Kannada activists stage protests which could take a violent turn in some places.
Contending that the state government managed the law and order issue well, the chief minister however said the government decided to take a call on the issue of imposing Hindi at Bengaluru Metro stations since litterateurs and intellectuals favoured primacy for Kannada.
The government was compelled to redesign the signages and boards in Metro stations without using Hindi language.
"It will be better to follow a persuasive approach rather than having a mandatory approach towards the usage of Hindi," he added in the letter....