'60% Kannada' Rule Deadline For Bengaluru Shops Extended By 2 Weeks

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar made it clear that the Congress government expects the law to be followed.

'60% Kannada' Rule Deadline For Bengaluru Shops Extended By 2 Weeks

Bengaluru shops have been asked to ensure 60% content on signboards must be in Kannada


Amid the row over Karnataka government's order asking shops to ensure at least 60 per cent Kannada content in signage, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar today said the deadline to comply to the rule has been extended by two weeks. The Deputy Chief Minister, however, made it clear that the Congress government expects the law to be followed.

"Considering that it takes time to change the signage, Karnataka government has decided to extend the deadline given to commercial establishments by 2 more weeks so that the 60% signage in Kannada rule can be followed," he said in a post on X.

"It is important that we uphold our mother tongue in utmost respect, therefore we expect this law will be duly followed, and we shall see compliance to it by the end of the 2 week extended period," the post added.

Earlier, in a move that brought the Hindi vs Kannada debate back under the spotlight, the Bengaluru civic body had in December asked shops to ensure that at least 60 per cent of the content on their signboards is in Kannada.

Tushar Giri Nath, chief commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, had warned that commercial stores under the civic body's jurisdiction will face legal action if they do not comply by February end. This action may include fines as well as cancellation of trade licence, he had said.

The '60 per cent Kannada' signage rule is set to be implemented across the state after the Siddaramaiah government brought the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Bill, 2024. The legislation has cleared the Assembly and also received the Governor's assent.

The 60 per cent signage rule was announced in the aftermath of dramatic scenes in Bengaluru markets over the language row. A viral video showed leaders of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike - an organisation pushing the language issue - were seen threatening shopkeepers on a microphone. "This is Karnataka. The Kannadigas are this state's pride. You go and show your pride in your state. Marwaris, next time you say you do not know Kannada, you will be a target," a leader was heard saying.

The Kannada language push has support from across the political spectrum. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has earlier said that everyone living in Karnataka should learn Kannada. "We are all Kannadigas. People speaking different languages have settled in this Kannada land since the unification of Karnataka. Everyone living in this state should learn to speak Kannada," he said in October.

"While it is impossible to exist in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh without learning the local language, you can survive in Karnataka even if you don't speak Kannada," he added. The Chief Minister had pushed for wider use of the local language in his earlier term too.

BJP MP from Karnataka and Union Minister Prahlad Joshi has also backed the signage move. Speaking to NDTV after some Bengaluru shops were vandalised by members of pro-Kannada groups over the language row, he had said, "Everybody should be able to read the signs and not everyone can read English. What is the harm in writing in Kannada as well as in English or another language, like Hindi? This is not England."

"If there has been violence that cannot be approved but these people (shopkeepers) should also understand the sentiment and the necessity," he had added.