BJP faces RSS’ flak over ignoring regional languages in Goa

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Panaji, April 5 (IANS) Goa RSS chief Subhash Velingkar on Tuesday accused the BJP-led coalition government of cheating the electorate by going back on the promise of using regional languages as medium of instruction.

Veingkar also threatened to stage a protest meet in ruling legislators’ constituencies, while addressing a press conference as the convenor of the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Samiti, a collective of academics and intellectuals, that wants primary schools using English as a medium of instruction, should be rejected financial grants from the state education ministry.

Velingkar did not rule out social ostracisation of ruling legislators, if they failed to go back on their demands to promote regional languages like Marathi and Konkani in primary schools.

“We are going to the constituency of each and every legislator to stage a protest and ask them why their government is going against the promise to back regional languages?

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“Our request to them is, if you cannot influence to government to cancel grants to schools where English is the medium of instruction, they should quit as MLAs,” Velingkar said.

“Two groups — Forum for Rights of Children to Education (FORCE) backed by the influential Roman Catholic Church and the BBSM, supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have been at loggerheads in Goa over the last few years, over the choice of language of instruction in junior schools.

While the former group supports English, the RSS-led group prefers indigenous languages.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which win won the 2012 state assembly elections, thanks to a strategic alliance with leaders of the Catholic community – Roman Catholics account for nearly 26 percent of the state population – is now caught between promises the party made to the minority community and the BBSM over the issue of medium of instruction.

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After coming to power, the Manohar Parrikar-led BJP government via an ad hoc decision in 2012, had decided to give grants only minority institutions that are using English as a medium of instruction, with new schools being denied the privilege.

“Both Parrikar and the BJP have cheated the people of Goa,” Velingkar said, adding that the BBSM had chalked out a Programme to stage the protest in most of the constituencies in April and May.

Asked if social ostracism of the ruling legislators was an option for the BBSM as a means of protest, Velingkar said: “Time for that will come too.”

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