West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said priority must be given to regional languages, supporting the southern states who opposed the Centre's now-dropped plan to make teaching of Hindi mandatory in non-Hindi speaking states.
Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, Ms Banerjee said there should be a freedom of choice for people in choosing languages used by them.
"Every state has a separate character and separate language. Priority must be given to regional languages. I have full support for regional languages. Importance must be given to the mother-tongue and then to other languages," she said.
In an apparent reference to the BJP-led central government, Ms Banerjee said, "You cannot control everything"
"There should be freedom of choice (in choosing languages). We must show respect to every regional language," she added. The Centre on Monday dropped the contentious provision of mandatory teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states, as it issued a revised draft education policy amid outrage over its earlier suggestion.
The DMK and other parties in Tamil Nadu had strongly opposed the three-language formula in the draft National Education Policy and alleged that it was tantamount to thrusting the Hindi language on the non-Hindi speaking states.
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