NEW DELHI: Hours after Union minister Amit Shah's Hindi language pitch, the Congress on Saturday said the three-language formula should not be tinkered with and controversies must not be stirred up on "emotive" issues settled by Constitution-makers.
The opposition party also said no indication should be given of a rethink on the "three-language formula" as it will create strife and unrest in the country.
The three languages formula is commonly understood to comprise Hindi, English and the regional language of the respective states.
Home Minister Shah on Saturday pitched for a common language for the country and said as Hindi is spoken the most, it can unite the whole country.
He also asked everyone to use their native languages as much as possible, but said efforts will be made to expand Hindi's reach to different parts of the country.
Asked about Shah's remarks, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said: "Let me make it very clear, if that is true then the Home Minister of India should know that Hindi has been declared as the official language long back."
The Constitution clearly respects India's diversity as it recognises 22 languages spoken by a large number of people, Sharma said.
"We should not stir up controversies on emotive and sensitive issues which have been settled by the maturity of India's Constitution-makers and the prime minister after Independence, especially I am referring to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
When the issue came up of language and the three-language formula was devised," Sharma said.
That formula must not be tinkered with and no indication should be given of a rethink which will create strife and unrest in the country, the Congress leader said.
Hindi is spoken by a majority of India's people, but equally important is the English language to be globally competent and to be global leaders.
"But whether it is Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Odiya, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Urdu, they all are Indian languages. So, yes, we celebrate the Hindi Divas. I am also Hindi-speaking. But I respect all other languages in the country," Sharma said.
According to the Official Languages Act, 1963, Hindi and English are the official languages for the Union government and Parliament.
A total of 22 languages of the country are recognised under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.