Bangalore: As the Union Home Ministry`s two circulars seeking to promote Hindi in the social media stirred up a big controversy, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said Hindi was not being forced on anyone and a "wrong propaganda" was on about Hindi imposition.
"This is again a wrong propaganda going on; nobody is forcing Hindi on anybody...," Naidu, also the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, told reporters here.
"I`m for popularising more and more regional languages, giving them importance- that is the policy of this government. There is no question of forcing any language. Let there be no apprehensions in this regard," he added.
The Home Ministry circulars have invited criticism particularly from parties in Tamil Nadu, who have raised apprehensions about Hindi imposition on non-Hindi speaking sections.
The move has come under attack from DMK leader M Karunanidhi and NDA Tamil Nadu allies MDMK chief Vaiko and PMK founder S Ramadoss.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing the proposal as "against the letter and spirit" of the Official Languages Act.
The "highly sensitive issue" had caused "disquiet" to the people of Tamil Nadu "who are very proud of and passionate about their linguistic heritage", she said.
The Home Ministry`s official language department had issued a circular on May 27 asking all Ministries and Departments, public sector undertakings and banks to give prominence to Hindi on official accounts in social media.
"...All officers and employees who operate official accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Google, Youtube should use Hindi and English languages. Prominence should be given to Hindi," Director, official language, Avadesh Kumar Mishra wrote in the directive.
Another circular announced prize money of Rs 2,000 to two employees who do their official work mostly in Hindi. Rs 1,200 and Rs 600 will be given to the second and third position holders respectively.