Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said “imposition" of any language on a state, which has its own official language, is unconstitutional.
The statement comes against the backdrop of protests by pro-Kannada outfits against use of Hindi on Bengaluru ‘Namma’ Metro signboards.
Siddaramaiah had written to the centre stating that the state government was compelled to ask the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) to temporarily re-design signboards in stations without the Hindi language.
Also, the Kannada Development Authority had asked all nationalised, scheduled and rural banks in the state to ensure that all non-Kannada speaking staff learn the language in six months.
“Every state has its own official language and our Constitution recognises the primacy of that language in the state to the exclusion of other languages. Hence, imposition of any other language in a state is unconstitutional and it is against the spirit of formation of states on linguistic basis," Siddaramaiah said in his address on 71st Independence Day.
He said the strength of the nation lies in the fact that all languages and communities not only co-exist, but also flourish by retaining their respective identities within the democratic setup as ordained by our Constitution.
Asserting that people are witnessing the phenomena of communalism and casteism “raising their ugly heads all around, joined by fascist forces", the chief minister said, “This is a very dangerous development about which all right thinking citizens are concerned."
Siddaramaiah asked people to take a pledge to annihilate divisive forces actively promoting communalism and casteism, “which are nothing but anti-national".
The government was planning the third phase of the metro, which is likely to add another 92km to the existing network, he said, adding, “Together, with all the phases, Bengaluru will have a total metro line of 250km by the year 2022."
In the last four years, 1.16 lakh small-scale and micro industrial units with Rs22,175 crore of investment have been registered and 10.3 lakh jobs created, the chief minister said.
By December 2017, 2,500 gram panchayats would have wi-fi and remaining 3,500 would get it by 2018, making Karnataka a completely wi-fi-enabled state, he added.