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Was asked if I am Indian for not speaking in Hindi at airport, says DMK leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi; CISF orders probe

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Chennai: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi on Sunday (August 9, 2020) recounted her experience at an airport where she was asked by a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer if she was an Indian because she did not speak Hindi.

The DMK leader said that she would like to know “from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi”.

The Lok Sabha MP from Thoothukudi constituency (Tamil Nadu) took to Twitter and wrote, “Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if “I am an Indian” when I asked her to speak to me in Tamil or English as I did not know Hindi. I would like to know from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi.”

The CISF acknowledged her “unpleasant experience” and asked her for the journey details.

The CISF also ordered an enquiry into the matter and said that it is not the policy of CISF to “insist upon any particular language”.

The incident comes amid the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that was approved by the Union Government on July 29 and has been opposed by several Tamil Nadu political leaders. 

The NEP 2020 aims at making board exams easy, reduction of the curriculum to core concepts, replacement of 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 structure, and medium of instruction up to class 5 in mother tongue or regional language.

Under the NEP 2020, the medium of instruction until at least class 5, but preferably till class 8 and beyond, will be the home language, mother tongue, local language and regional language.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had recently said that the state rejects the three-language policy that was proposed as per the NEP 2020. He also requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider Tamil sentiments and allow states to pursue their own language policy as per the states’ respective ideology.

“It is worrisome and painful that the NEP makes mention of three-language policy, but the people of Tamil Nadu and all the major political parties prefer carrying forward the two-language policy,” said CM Palaniswami. 

The official statement also mentioned the first Dravidian party leader CN Annadurai about how he had announced in the State assembly, in 1968, that Tamil Nadu would follow only the two-language policy.

The statement also referred to AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran, who as Chief Minister had passed an assembly resolution in 1986, that talked about reinforcing the two-language policy. 

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, late Jayalalithaa, had also said that Hindi must not be imposed on non-Hindi speaking states and that such attempts would be opposed and defeated.

Notably, Tamil Nadu witnessed widespread agitations in 1965 when the then Congress state government had attempted to make Hindi the state’s official language.

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