Amid protests from opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, the Southern Railway GM on Friday clarified that the circular asking its officials to speak only in English or Hindi would be withdrawn.
A circular from the Southern Railway headquarters dated June 12 had specified that communications between the division control office and station masters should be either in Hindi or English.
“The circular is arrogant. The Railway is bullying its officials," DMK chief MK Stalin told reporters.
Chief Transportation Planning Manager (CTPM) R Siva had written in the June 12th dated circular: “The communication between the Divisional Control Office and the Station Masters should be either in English or in Hindi and the use of regional language should be avoided to prevent either side not understanding what is being said.”
“The objective of the above exercise is to improve communication between the Control Office and the Station Masters. It is the responsibility of the Control Office to ensure that every instruction passed by it to the Station Masters is clear and comprehended,” the letter read.
The letter was addressed to Section Controllers, Station Staff, Traffic Inspectors and Station Masters of the Chennai division, and was intended 'to improve communication between officials.'
The Southern Railway network covers Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and parts of Andhra Pradesh.
Several social media users, mainly from Tamil Nadu, criticised the Southern Railways circular.
As per article 343, Central Government Employee should communicate in official languages in the state they are working. But today Southern Railway issues circular to communicate only in English and Hindi !!! Though English is not a official language !!! #StopHindiImposition pic.twitter.com/N69vuHKe2w— Sudharsan K (@SudharsanK10) June 14, 2019
This circular comes at a time when the Centre was recently forced to revise the new Draft National Education Policy, which had recommended Hindi learning mandatory in schools of non-Hindi speaking states, and suggested a three-language formula without naming Hindi.
.@GMSRailway Why can't we have Kannada/Telugu/Tamil/Malayalam version of Southern Railways website?— Srujana Deva #StopHindiImposition (@SrujanaDeva) June 14, 2019
Shamelessly pushing Hindi in tickets, stations & to Station masters, railway workers and even in websites.
This country has no place for non-Hindi langs!#StopHindiImposition pic.twitter.com/AOmMFRPWkP
In the draft National Education Policy 2019, a three-language formula has recommended the inclusion of English and Hindi besides mother tongue in non-Hindi speaking states, while Hindi-speaking states were to include English and an Indian language from other parts of the country.
Many leaders from non-Hindi states, especially Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, had opposed the policy.
In Tamil Nadu, leaders cutting across party lines have said the state would not tolerate any imposition of the third language.
(With inputs from agencies)