Modi Steps in, Cools Tempers on Hindi Use

Hours after Jayalalithaa’s letter to Prime Minister over directive to use the language in social media, Union Home Ministry clarifies that it was not meant for non-Hindi speaking states.

Published: 21st June 2014 08:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st June 2014 10:30 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: After a no-holds-barred attack on the NDA government for the use of Hindi on social media platforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped in to soften the agitating political nerves of regional satraps.

Top government sources said the Prime Minister called up MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju immediately after his office received a letter from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa criticising the Centre’s diktat over the use of Hindi on social media. In her letter, Jaya said the circular issued by the Home Ministry is against the letter and spirit of the Official Languages Act, 1963, and urged that English should be used in social media. Sources said the Prime Minister had tasked Rijiju with dousing the fire since the official language division comes directly under the MoS Home Office. Prime Minister’s Office too issued a clarification regarding the use of Hindi on social media platforms by the Department of Official Language dated March 10, 2014 and it does not seek to impose communication in Hindi on states that are not Hindi-speaking.

“It only indicates the current government’s policy on the use of Hindi only in government communication in only Hindi-speaking states. This is neither a new policy nor an attempt to impose the use of Hindi on any non Hindi-speaking State,” the PMO said.

Rijiju hurriedly called a press conference on Friday evening and termed the media reports on making Hindi compulsory factually incorrect, saying no such directives have been issued to any state.

“Report of the Government of India imposing Hindi Language on all states is wrong and unwarranted. No such directives have been issued to any state. All regional languages and local dialects are equal for us, we believe in promotion of all languages,” the Minister of State said.

The Modi-led government had come under attack from regional political parties after the Department of Official Language on May 27 asked ministries, PSUs and banks to give prominence to Hindi on social media platforms, triggering a political row.

Directive issued by UPA, says Naidu

As the NDA government’s directive on use of Hindi in social media stirred up a big controversy, Union Urban Development Minister

M Venkaiah Naidu said the circular was issued under Congress rule. “I don’t know why this controversy is happening. This circular was issued on March 10. We weren’t in power. Congress was in power,” Naidu said.

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