Political parties and apolitical organisations in the northeast on Sunday expressed opposition to the move to make Hindi a compulsory subject up to Class 10 in the northeastern states.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday while chairing the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee had said Hindi should be accepted as an alternative language to English but not to local languages.
“The nine tribal communities of the northeast have converted their dialects’ scripts to Devanagari while all the eight states of the northeast have agreed to make Hindi compulsory in schools up to Class 10. There is a need to give elementary knowledge of Hindi to students up to Class 9, and pay more attention to Hindi teaching examinations,” the Home Minister had reportedly said in the meeting.
Assam’s influential apex literary body, Asom Sahitya Sabha (ASS) on Sunday has opposed the move to make Hindi a compulsory subject till Class 10 in the northeastern states. ASS Secretary General Jadav Chandra Sharma said making Hindi a mandatory language will endanger the indigenous language.
However, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that there is no instruction from Centre to make Hindi learning compulsory.
“Assamese is the mother tongue of the majority of Assam citizens. The Assam government in consultation with Asom Sahitya Sabha and tribal dominated organisations prepared a language policy where a student will learn Assamese and a tribal language besides English and Hindi. Bodo Sahitya Sabha has some opposition and that’s why the state government has yet to announce the policy,” the Chief Minister said.
Sarma said that Shah had said one must know Hindi even though “we want students to learn English and Hindi”.
“Amit Shah has not said one must not stop learning Assamese and learn Hindi. He said that one must, after learning Assamese or their mother tongue, learn Hindi. We also want the same for by learning Hindi a student from this region would be able to apply for government and non-government jobs in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra,” he said.
Assam’s Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia on Sunday said that Shah’s announcement is in contradiction to the New Education Policy introduced by the BJP-led Central government which seeks to support primary education in the mother tongue.
Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee President Keisham Meghachandra on Sunday told the media persons in Imphal that the party strongly opposes the Union Home Minister’s statement “on imposition of Hindi language in Manipur and other northeast India states”.
In Meghalaya, former Congress leader and sitting MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh, who along with 4 party legislators recently announced to support the BJP-backed Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government, also strongly opposed Shah’s announcement.
“The Central government is unilaterally trying to impose Hindi in the northeastern states,” Lyngdoh told the media on Sunday in Shillong.