On ‘pani puri sellers’ row, Tamil Nadu minister makes this clarification

On 'pani puri sellers' row, Tamil Nadu minister makes this clarification

Tamil Nadu higher education minister K Ponmudy on Friday issued a clarification after heavy criticism over an earlier statement claiming ‘Hindi-speaking people sell pani puri’ in the southern state. The minister said he meant ‘people from the north come to the southern states to work because there is no work in the northern states’, news agency ANI reported.

“Various people from Tamil Nadu go and work in the northern states. I said the statement in this sense – that various people from the north come here and work because there is no work available in northern states,” Ponmudy said.

The minister’s comment came amid controversy over some states’ perception that Hindi is being imposed on them; the issue has always been a sensitive topic, particularly in the southern states.

Addressing the 37th convocation at state-run Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, the DMK minister had said his government was determined to follow the dual-language policy – English and Tamil.

“While English is an international language, Tamil is a local language. We were told learning Hindi could land us jobs. Is that so? You go and see it in our state… Who are those people who sell pani puris?” he asked.

Also read: ‘No place in the country if you don’t speak Hindi’: UP minister Sanjay Nishad stokes row

Most recently the ‘Hindi language imposition’ debate was reignited after a Twitter exchange between Bollywood actor Ajay Ajay Devgn and Kannada actor Kiccha Sudeep.

The Kannada actor had said ‘Hindi is no more a national language’ – to which Devgn said ‘Hindi was, is, and always will be our mother tongue and national language. Jan Gan Man’.

The exchange soon turned into a political spat after Karnataka opposition leaders and former chief ministers HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah rushed to Sudeep’s defence. The Janata Dal leader criticised Devgn for his ‘ludicrous behaviour’ and labelled him a ‘mouthpiece of BJP’s Hindi nationalism’, and the Congress leader called on people to ‘respect linguistic diversity’.

Significantly, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai, who heads the BJP government in the state, also extended his support, stating ‘regional language is the most important’.

Also read: On Ajay Devgn, Sudeep’s ‘Hindi national language’ row, Sonu Nigam said this…

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday also weighed in and told the media: “I respect the Hindi language and speak it in Parliament… The whole country understands it. I request home minister Amit Shah to make ‘ek desh, ek vidhaan, ek bhasha’. Everyone must respect the language.”

(With inputs from ANI)

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