Karnataka language row: Pro-Kannada activists blacken Hindi words in Bengaluru metro signboards

Hindi boards were found blackened outside the Yeshwantpur metro station by members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike

FP Staff July 20, 2017 11:52:11 IST
Karnataka language row: Pro-Kannada activists blacken Hindi words in Bengaluru metro signboards

On Wednesday, members of the pro-Kannada outfit Karantaka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) blackened the signboards of multiple metro stations which were written in Hindi, according to media reports.

The hardline outfit was reportedly protesting the "imposition" of Hindi.

According to a report in Business Standard, KRV members also blackened the Hindi signboards of Jayanagar, Peenya, Deepanjali Nagar and Mysore Road stations.

According to News 18, members of KRV split into small groups around 3 am and defaced the boards.

The police later detained the activists, The Hindu reported.

In the past, the group defaced English and Hindi nameplates of a restaurant in a mall near Bengaluru’s Eco tech park, Financial Express reported.

In the first week of July, Hindi words were concealed on the signboards in Chickpete and Majestic metro stations. KRV demanded that the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) end the practice of using Hindi signboards at metro stations. Opposing the usage of Hindi in railway announcements, KRV said that even railway announcers in the neighbouring states of Kerala and Maharashtra refrained from using Hindi.

Karnataka language row ProKannada activists blacken Hindi words in Bengaluru metro signboards

Representational image of Namma Metro. PTI

Planning to intensify the stir, KRV has planned a round table meeting in Delhi towards the end of August, The Times of India reported.

The report further states that the meeting will be attended by members of political outfits from non-Hindi speaking states such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal, Assam and other northeastern states.

There also has been a wave of public anger on social media against the "imposition" of Hindi.

In the last week of June, Twitter users started the #NammaMetroHindi Beda campaign to urge state government to banish the use of Hindi. The campaign seeks removal of Hindi signboards from all Namma Metro stations and also stop announcements in Hindi.

However, BMRCL defended the usage of Hindi and said it was only implementing the Centre's orders. According to it, non-Hindi speaking states were directed to use three languages, the state's official language, Hindi, and English, for signboards, announcements and public material for public information in all metro stations.

The Union Urban Development Ministry had asked BMRCL to ensure Hindi signage is used in the metro’s new Phase 1 stretch that was inaugurated in June.

The Kannada Development Authority had later asked for a reply from BMRCL about the same, News18 reported.

The anti-Hindi agitation has found support from Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Business Standard reported. He asked the officials to find out what policy was followed in non-Hindi states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal.

Amid this campaign, Union minister Anant Kumar said that priority should be given to use of Kannada language, followed by Hindi and English for the benefit of non-Kannadigas in the Karnataka capital.

"All over India, railways are using three languages. In Namma Metro too, the first priority should be Kannada. There should no compromise on that. After that, Hindi Hindi and English should be used," Kumar said.

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