SHARAN POOVANNA : Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday joined his successor H.D.Kumaraswamy in voicing his opinions against imposition of Hindi and joining Tamil Nadu in opposing the draft National Education Policy that is perceived to mandate a three language policy to be taught in schools including Hindi.

In a series of three tweets, Siddaramaiah lashed out at the centre.

“Ours is a land that exhibits Unity in Diversity. Peaceful coexistence is the need to establish harmony & any force shall work against the laws of society. For us Kannada is an identity, & learning any other language should be by Choice & not by imposition," Siddaramaiah wrote on Twitter, adding the hashtag #StopHindiImposition.

“New National Education Policy draft imposes Hindi in non Hindi states & this goes against our sentiments. If recognition of regional identity is inconsistent according to few then imposition of Hindi is nothing but a brutal assault on our States," he wrote in a second tweet.

Though there has always been an anti-Hindi sentiment in most of the south Indian states, Siddaramaiah had rekindled the Kannada pride and identity debate before last years assembly elections by unveiling a Karnataka flag and removing Hindi from metro stations that had extended the base of his poll plank.

The controversy erupted when the newly elected government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed a draft bill to make Hindi a mandatory third language to be taught in schools across the country.

Tamil Nadu, whose politics is defined by its Dravidian ideology that, among other things, is opposed to Hindi, resisted the bill and its proposal sparking off similar reactions from other non-Hindi speaking states that see this as a larger ploy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to impose the idea of a national language.

A hashtag #HindiIsNotTheNationalLanguage was trending on twitter on Monday as several non-Hindi speaking netizens braved the onslaughts from compatriots trying to argue the need for a common tongue other than English.

Several states in India, especially those in the south, see this as an imposition that threatens to devalue the regional language.

D.V.Sadananda Gowda, senior BJP leader and union minister said that the centre has not yet taken a decision on the draft National Education Policy 2019 and clarified that Prime Minister Modi had made it clear that regional languages will be given priority.

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