‘Kannada supreme in K’taka’, Siddaramaiah says amid protests seeking prominence for local language

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‘Kannada supreme in K’taka’, Siddaramaiah says amid protests seeking prominence for local language

Bengaluru: A day after protests in Bengaluru that saw the removal of English signboards of many commercial outlets by activists seeking prominence for the local language, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday said Kannada language is supreme in the state, and there was no compromise in this regard.

He said this while addressing a press conference after holding a high-level meeting with Bengaluru civic body authorities and the police department over the implementation of 60 per cent Kannada in signboards.

CM Siddaramaiah explained that his government would bring an ordinance to amend Section 17 (6) of the Karnataka Comprehensive Language Development Act 2022, and commercial buildings would be given time till February 28 to prominently display signages in Kannada.

“Immediate steps would be taken to issue a government notification and formulate guidelines in this regard. There is no opposition to peaceful protest. We believe in democracy and the Constitution. I am making it clear that if anyone takes the law into their hands, the government won’t tolerate it,” CM Siddaramaiah stated.

“Any organisation or individual should abide by the Constitution. The maintenance of law and order is the responsibility of the government. Peace should be maintained,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Hubballi on Thursday, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi stated that he won’t approve the attitude of certain people who do not want to put up signboards and nameplates in the Kannada language in Karnataka.

“According to information available to me, shop owners intentionally do not want the Kannada language to be displayed. The majority of people in Karnataka speak Kannada. What is the problem with the shop owners adding Kannada along with Hindi and English?” he questioned.

“When this was questioned, a few owners of industries showed arrogance. I don’t agree with violence. But, why are they not willing to display Kannada on signboards? Not even 20 to 30 per cent of shop owners display Kannada on name plates. This is wrong,” Union Minister Joshi stated.

“What is the difficulty in putting up Kannada along with English? This is not Britain or England. Not everyone will understand English. Why do nameplates only have English? The owners of commercial establishments should understand this. All nameplates should have 60 per cent Kannada. There is no room for confusion in this respect.

Karnataka Rakshana Vedike president T.A. Narayana Gowda and 28 others were arrested for vandalism and destruction of English signboards and properties of commercial buildings in support of their demand to give prominence to the Kannada language.

Reacting to the vandalism and destruction unleashed by activists in Bengaluru, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on Thursday said: “We will not allow anyone to take the law into their hands. This is about the honour and respect of the Karnataka state.”

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