Panaji: Goa’s RSS chief Subhash Velingkar on Wednesday took on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the ruling BJP-led coalition government here for what he claims is a betrayal of Indian languages over the English language.
He also said that a regional languages front headed by him would start a statewide agitation soon to convince Goans about the perils of Parrikar and BJP’s U-turn on the issue.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Velingkar, who is virtually the face of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Goa, also appealed to the Bharatiya Janata Party workers to defy a diktat issued by Parrikar on Monday at a meeting attended by BJP’s top state leaders, asking the cadre not to attend meetings of the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch.
“The BJP and Parrikar have committed a U-turn on the promise of 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.
Two groups, Forum for Rights 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 former group backs English, the RSS-led faction prefers indigenous languages.
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, had decided to give grants only to minority institutions that are using English as a medium of instruction, with new schools being denied the privilege.
Velingkar now calls the BJP and Parrikar’s decision hypocritical and not in sync with the values which the RSS and the BBSM believe in.