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Ranchi: A deep linguistic fault-line divided legislators of Jharkhand State Assembly on the last day of the Winter Session on Friday with voices raised in acrimony and some legislators complaining of  language chauvinism.

Congress legislator KN Tripathi moved a ‘call attention motion’, criticising the Government for not granting second language status to four languages — Maithili, Bhojpuri, Maghi and Angika — after it promised, during the Monsoon Session, to look into the matter.

Supporting Tripathi’s point, Assembly Speaker CP Singh, who was more vocal than the others, said, “The Government will have to explain its position on this matter. Jharkhand has sizeable presence of these linguistic communities at about 20 lakh, no less. There are a large number of Bhojpuri speaking MLAs.”

Raising their hands, around a dozen MLAs from both the Treasury and the Opposition responded to Singh’s call. There was pandemonium and heated argument as AJSU MLAs including Deputy CM Sudesh Mahto, Congress MLA Geetashree Oraon and Bandhu Tirkey opposed granting of second language status to any language that they claimed was primarily spoken in Bihar.

Bellicose MLAs often engaged in filibuster. Tirkey wanted the year 1932 to be the cut-off year for granting of second language status but others shouted down his proposal as “preposterous” and “prejudiced”. Some contended that adding four more languages to the list would be against the interests of Jharkhand and the Jharkhandi.

The observation was vehemently opposed by legislators. BJP MLA Kunti Singh, Umakant Yadav Akela, Congress MLA Banna Gupta, Anant Narayn Singh, Madhavlal, Independent Videsh Singh and others rushed to the Well. BJP MLA Raghuwar Das, who initially accused the Opposition of indulging in cheap language politics, later supported the demand.

They objected to the reply made by the Government on the presence of these linguistic communities saying that Maithili comprised 0.524 per cent of the total population. “Why not these four languages if Odiya can be granted second language status?” the Speaker, however, said.

Das soon demanded the Government table the census report 2001 to ascertain facts. While most Bhojpuri speaking MLAs remained united, the sole Maithili speaking Minister, Satyanand Jha ‘Batul’, who is known for his robust lung power, stayed silent.

HRD Minister Vaidyanath Ram said, “We have granted second language status to 11 languages in Jharkhand. Leave imparting education in these languages we have not even been able to publish a single textbook in these languages. We have no resources for it.”

(Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/ranchi/30149-language-divide-rocks-house-official-status-row-breaks-out.html)

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