NCP backs Goa RSS rap to BJP government over languages

Panaji, Jan 21 (IANS) A day after Subhash Velingkar, who heads the RSS in Goa, attacked the BJP for alleged betrayal of Indian regional languages over English, the Nationalist Congress Party in the state has backed him for his “straightforwardness”.

At a press conference on Thursday, NCP state vice president Trajano D’Mello said that criticism of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government in Goa has come full circle with the comments from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Wednesday.

“Now it is clear that the BJP and Manohar Parrikar had lied to the Goan people on the medium of instruction issue. It has been confirmed by none other than a senior and respected RSS leader, Subhash Velingkar. Though I may differ with the views and beliefs of Subhash Velingkar, I respect him for his straightforwardness,” D’Mello said.

“The BJP and Parrikar have committed a U-turn on the promise by giving preference to English over regional Indian languages when it comes to medium of instruction in school… We will expose this by carrying out a statewide awareness campaign, where the betrayal by both will be conveyed to the people,” Velingkar said on Wednesday.

Two groups, Forum for Right of Children to Education (FORCE) backed by the influential Roman Catholic Church and the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) supported by the RSS have been at loggerheads in Goa over the last few years, over the choice of language of instruction in junior schools.

While the Forum backs English, the RSS-led Manch prefers indigenous languages as te medium of instruction in schools.

The BJP, which won the 2012 state assembly elections, thanks to a strategic alliance with leaders of the Catholic community – Roman Catholics account for nearly 26 percent of the state population – is now caught between promises the party made to the minority community and the BBSM over the issue of medium of instruction.

After coming to power, the Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government via an ad hoc decision in 2012, decided to give grants only to minority institutions that are using English as a medium of instruction, and denied the privilege to new schools.

D’Mello said the BJP has no moral right to continue in the government after a top state functionary of the RSS, from which the party draws its ideology and a large part of the cadre, has accused the party of lying.

“The BJP-led coalition government in Goa has been exposed by the RSS, one of its own. By saying that Parrikar lied to the people, the defence minister too cannot continue in such a sensitive position,” D’Mello said.

Parrikar, while addressing a party meeting on Monday, without naming the BBSM or Velingkar, said that certain groups were trying to stoke communal sentiments in guise of language issues. He asked party workers not to attend functions organised by them.

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