After series of protests by pro-Kannada activists in the past few weeks, authorities have started removing Hindi signboards from various Metro stations in Bengaluru. Hindi boards are not seen at Majestic, Chickpet, K R Market metro stations. A picture of a signage at Chickpet station, which was taken down by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) has gone viral social media.
The Pro-Kannada organizations have been protesting against the BMRCL authorities and accused central government of imposing Hindi. The consistent protests forced the Kannada Development Authority and state government to intervene in the matter.
“We have received information that BMRCL has started removing signage at Majestic, Chickpet and other stations. They should also remove Hindi signage from other stations and comply with the state bilingual language policy. In addition to removing Hindi signage from the stations, we have also instructed the BMRCL to follow Sarojini Mahishi recommendation on giving jobs to Kannadigas in the BMRCL” KDA chairman S G Siddaramaiah told Bangalore Mirror.
Earlier, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had written to the central government about his decision to remove Hindi boards.
“It is counterproductive to continue to insist on the use of three languages, including Hindi, [on signs at metro stations]”, Siddaramaiah had said in his letter. “You would also agree that the cultural aspirations and sentiments of the people of Karnataka need to be respected.” He said the Kannada and English signs would remain, since it was “practical to use those languages which the locals can read and follow”.
The pro-Kannada activists have run campaigns in the social media under the hashtag #Namma Metro Hindi Beda, which was followed by blackening of the Hindi signboards by members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike.
Soon after the Kannada Development Authority also met BMRCL officials and raised the same demand and chief minister Siddarmaiah too wrote to Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Tomar in this regard.
The process is expected to continue over the next few days to cover the entire Phase I network.