Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s foundation stone-laying event for the RAF unit in Karnataka on Saturday turned out to be controversial with the Opposition and Kannada organisations taking exception to the absence of Kannada plaque in the foundation stone event. It only had Hindi and English inscriptions.
Former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy and Kannada organisations have condemned the prominence given to Hindi and English languages, ignoring Kannada. The foundation stone plaques unveiled by Mr. Shah in the presence of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had information only in Hindi and English. The banner on the dais stated contents of the programme only in Hindi.
Mr. Kumaraswamy in a series of tweets, on Saturday evening, said: “It is an unpardonable act that despite getting land from Karnataka for RAF unit, Kannada has been completely ignored in the foundation stone plaque. Amit Shah should clarify to Kannadigas on the episode of violation of three-language formula in the plaque”.
He alleged that the act of the Union Minister, Chief Minister, and Deputy Chief Minister, who were present, was “nothing but betraying Kannadigas”. Those who tolerate an insult to the dignity and honour of land, as well as its language, are not fit to hold the reigns of the State administration, he opined.
Mr. Shah laid the foundation stone for 97 battalion of RAF at Bhadravati. The State government has provided 50.29 acres of land for the unit.
KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar accused the BJP government of not being interested in regional languages and regional structure from the day they came to power. “They have forgotten it is a federal structure in the constitution. So, they are trying to create confusion and differentiate among States. We respect the national language and at the same time we cannot forget our roots. We condemn what the BJP has done. They lack common sense. They should apologise,” he said.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah said that despite these efforts, imposition of Hindi on Kannadigas is not easy.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike president T.A. Narayana Gowda, in a post on social media, said it was common sense to use Kannada prominently in any government programme held in Karnataka. “Kannadigas need not tolerate the deliberate imposition of Hindi,” he said. His organisation gave a call for a Twitter campaign on Sunday evening opposing imposition of Hindi. Hundreds of people responded to the campaign by posting their tweets.
Many Kannada lovers have posted comments condemning the way the language was ignored in the programme.