KOLKATA: Several groups promoting Bengali sub-nationalism on Monday called upon non-Hindi speaking people to mark Hindi Diwas as 'black day' in protest against alleged discriminatory attitude towards the Bengali language by the Centre.
Hindi Diwas is observed on this day annually to commemorate the adoption of Hindi as one of the official languages of the country.
Organisations such as Bangla Pokkho and Jatiyo Bangla Sammelan demand that the central government desist from "imposing Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states".
In West Bengal's post offices, railway stations and airports which are run by the central government, Hindi is more visible in signboards than Bengali, Bangla Pokkho alleged in a statement.
"This is inconsistent with India's policy of giving equal importance to the language of the majority of the people in non-Hindi speaking states. This is nothing short of Hindi aggression. We oppose this. Hindi Diwas should be observed as black day in this state," the statement said.
The organisation said that an estimated 83 per cent people know only Bengali in this state and they should not be ignored.
"The strength of India rests in its unity in diversity, not in imposition of Hindi or efforts to make it a unifying language across different regions," the statement said, demanding that linguistic diversity of the country be celebrated on February 21, the International Mother Language Day.
Another organization, Jatiyo Bangla Sammelan, launched a campaign on this day, saying that Hindi Diwas should not be celebrated in West Bengal.
The outfit also supported the demand by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for declaring Bengali as a classical language in new National Education Policy 2020.
Banerjee in a tweet called upon the Centre to accord classical language status to Bengali while underscoring her commitment to give equal importance to other languages including Hindi and not ignoring any language.