NEW DELHI -- The Centre on Monday said it is not imposing Hindi on anyone but promoting it like other regional languages.
"We are not imposing Hindi but promoting Hindi like any other language," Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told reporters here.
Rijiju is the minister incharge of the Department of Official Language.
His comments came in the backdrop allegations levelled by certain quarters that the Modi government is trying to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.
DMK leader M K Stalin has accused the Centre of trying to relegate people who don't speak Hindi, to second-class citizens and of pushing the country into becoming "Hindia".
The controversy was generated after President Pranab Mukherjee accepted the recommendation of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language that all dignitaries including the president and ministers, especially those who can read and speak Hindi, may be requested to give their speech/statement in Hindi only.
The president has accepted several other recommendations, including making announcements on board aircraft in Hindi followed by English.
Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday denied as incorrect the perception that the Centre is imposing Hindi language on others, maintaining that the government has only notified the recommendations of a parliamentary panel.
"I was pained to read in a section of the media today (Monday) that DMK leader M.K. Stalin has alleged imposition of Hindi by the central government," the Information and Broadcasting Minister said in a statement here.
"The government of India has no intention to impose any language on anyone," he stressed.
"I would like to clarify that the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language headed by the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram made a recommendation (about use of Hindi by Ministers, MPs etc.) and the same was forwarded to the President of India on 2 June, 2011," Naidu said.
"This committee suggested that all those occupying high political offices and who can speak and read Hindi language may be requested to give their speeches/statements in Hindi. The President and all Ministers come in this category."
Naidu said the present Bharatiya Janata Party-led government notified this recommendation on 31 March.
He said the committee's suggestion was only recommendatory and not mandatory.
"It is totally false and mischievous to allege that an ordinance was passed in this regard," Naidu said.
Naidu, however, pointed out that the DMK was a member of the Union government in 2011 when this recommendation was made and forwarded by the parliamentary committee to the President.
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