Shillong: Former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma on Thursday condemned the Centre’s decision to make Hindi a compulsory subject till Class 10 in the north-east region “without taking sentiments of people into consideration”.
Sangma, the leader of the opposition (LoP) in the state assembly, said he was perturbed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comment that “all northeast states have agreed” to the Centre’s decision.
Shah had said at a meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee in New Delhi on April 7 that all northeast states have agreed to make Hindi compulsory in schools till Class 10.
“The sentiment of the people of the region was not taken into consideration when the Centre took the decision. The state governments should have articulated what would be the feeling of the northeast residents,” he said.
Referring to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s comment that one should learn Hindi, the leader of the opposition said, “Who is stopping people from learning Hindi? Nobody is doing that whether it is German or French language.”
It is very “important to understand and respect the sentiment of people belonging to different communities from the linguistic perspective”, the LoP said.
The former chief minister also admitted that he had studied Hindi in his school.
“We used to have Hindi classes in school but it was never meant to be a compulsory subject,” he said.
“People will find a way to equip themselves with knowledge of multiple languages. It is always going to be advantageous for someone to know multiple languages but it doesn’t mean you should force everyone to learn a particular language,” he said.
Meanwhile, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), a conglomeration of eight student bodies, has taken umbrage over the Centre’s decision to make Hindi a compulsory subject till Class 10 in the region, contending that the move will be detrimental to indigenous languages and will create disharmony.
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