Speaking to indianexpress.com, Venkatesan alleged that the Centre's reluctance to reply in English to representatives of non-Hindi-speaking states is a “well-planned move”.

Madurai MP Su Venkatesan Sunday sent a letter addressed to him in Hindi back to the Ministry of Culture. The letter was sent by the Centre on February asking him to give recommendations for the ‘Gandhi Peace Prize’.

The CPI(M) MP said he could not understand the context of the letter and was fortunate to know the number of the letter since it was in numerals.  He added that the format enclosed in the letter was in English and hence he was able to assume that the letter, which was addressed to MPs, was asking him to make a recommendation.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Venkatesan alleged that the Centre’s reluctance to reply in English to representatives of non-Hindi-speaking states is a “well-planned move”.

“I can quote three instances. Last year in Parliament, the notices given to the members of the house were all in Hindi. We objected to it, the speaker intervened and said henceforth all the notices will be served in both English and Hindi. In March, there was again a communication sent to us in Hindi and we protested against it. In November, when I wrote to the Union Ministry of State for Home Affairs requesting examination centres in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for recruitment of CRPF paramedical staff, I received a reply in Hindi.”

He added, “After this, I approached the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court to ensure all communications between the Centre and the Tamil Nadu state government are in English. The Central government informed the court that was a mistake on their part and assured that future communications would be in English. But now in less than two months, the Ministry of Culture has responded again in Hindi.”

He added that sending letters in Hindi to representatives of non-Hindi speaking states is a violation and contempt of the Official Language Implementation Act.

“This looks like a planned move to completely remove English and project Hindi as the only official language of the Central government. I am waiting for the Centre’s response and after that, I will take a decision on whether to approach the court,” the Madurai MP added.

In the letter, Su Venkatesan wrote that at least the officials of the Ministry of Culture should have sensitivity on the issue keeping in mind the multicultural and multi-lingual heritage of this great nation.

“I doubt whether this kind of approach is deliberate on part of the Government of India to implement their project of imposing Sanskrit and Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states of India particularly Tamil Nadu,” the letter read.

Alleging that it is possible that such attempts are being resorted to repeatedly with a hope that MPs of non-Hindi speaking states become tired and reconciled to using Hindi, Venkatesan said, “I want to emphatically state that our state of Tamil Nadu has a unique history of fighting such attempts to impose Hindi and many sacrifices were also made. Hence, we would not get tired and fight the attempts to weaken our resolve to protect our identity and great culture.”

Venkatesan added that he is sending back the letter and requested the Ministry of Culture to advise the officials not to repeat these measures in the future.

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