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Sitaram Yechury protests Union govt’s ‘Hindi imposition’

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-06-2017 Dharani Thangavelu

Chennai: Voices against the imposition of Hindi grew louder on Monday at a day-long conference organized by the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association, and the Students Federation of India.

Speaking at the event on Monday, Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, general secretary Sitaram Yechury opposed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government’s growing Hindi imposition and sought for the continued excavation and research of the Keezhadi site. He urged the people of Tamil Nadu to lead in strengthening the “idea of India” to stop the country from being reduced to the “narrow confines of “Hindi, Hindu and Hindutva”.

“All the senior ministers are suddenly talking about Hindi being the national language and that it should be promoted. These distractions are the essence of the three-year rule of the Modi government,” he added.

Union minister Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday called Hindi the “national language” that led to strong criticism from all quarters. The recent move by the external affairs ministry that all passports will be printed in English and Hindi, also drew condemnation.

Yechury said the fight against the imposition of Hindi and the need for the excavation project in Keezhadi to continue must be seen as a “path towards the larger battle which is taking place in the country right now”.

Keezhadi in Sivagangai district, where artefacts have been unearthed during excavation, is believed to be a Sangam-era site. The excavation could unearth remains of a 2,500-year-old civilisation on the banks of river Vaigai.

The Madurai bench of the Madras high court recently directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to set up a site museum to preserve these artefacts.

On Monday, various writers and political leaders alleged that efforts were on to conceal facts about Keezhadi and pressed on the need to ensure that the excavation was carried out to the fullest extent.

Earlier in the day, Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and CPM leader T.K. Rangarajan questioned the need to transfer superintending archaeologist K. Amarnath Ramakrishna. When Ramakrishna, who oversaw two phases of the project, was transferred before the third phase, it was seen as an attempt “to stall the excavation”.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Durai Murugan, Viduthalai Thiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) president Thol. Thirumavalavan and CPM state secretary G. Ramakrishnan were also present at the event addressed by Yechury.

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