TNCC president K.S. Alagiri on Tuesday claimed that the Congress was never in favour of Hindi imposition.

He denied Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s contention that the previous Congress regimes at the Centre had tried to impose Hindi.

Widespread criticism

Mr. Alagiri said when there was a demand in 1956 and 1959 to make Hindi the official language, there was widespread criticism and fear among States that did not speak Hindi, and they raised protests against the move.

Following this in 1959, he said, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made it clear on the floor of Parliament that Hindi would not be imposed on any State at any cost.

Mr. Nehru assured Parliament that the States that did not speak Hindi could decide for how long English could be the official language and that no one else had the right to decide for them, Mr. Alagiri said adding that Mr. Nehru had said both Hindi and English will continue to be the administrative language of the country.

In 1967, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave further protection to these assurances by way of amendments to the Official Language Act, 1967.

“As far as the Congress is concerned, Prime Ministers such as Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi have only prevented the imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people and have never supported its imposition,” he claimed.

“It is because of the protection given by Nehru by way of legislation in 1959 and 1961 that the BJP government is now not able to impose Hindi on Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister Palaniswami must understand this,” he added.

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