A Karnataka government circular on selecting students with knowledge of Hindi for a tour of Uttarakhand has sparked a 'Hindi imposition' row, with the government clarifying there was no such direction either from the state or the Centre on the matter.
The contents of the purported circular which have gone viral state that, as part of "Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav" under "Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat" initiative, a tour programme has been organised for students to other states, for which two pupils (a boy and a girl) from Bengaluru South district of Pre-University department have to be selected.
It further states, "among the students studying in second year PUC at college, it has been instructed to select students who can speak Hindi, have understanding of technology, and are interested in cultural and sports activities." The colleges have been directed in the circular to share the list of such students to the Deputy Director's office and the final selection of students will be done by the Deputy Director.
The circular has elicited sharp reactions alleging "Hindi imposition".
However, Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh clarified that neither the state nor the central government have issued any directions regarding selecting students who can speak Hindi for the 'Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav' tour programme.
The Minister's clarification came following the controversy over the circular issued by the Deputy Director for Pre-University Education Department (Bengaluru South).
"Neither the Centre nor the state government have given instruction that knowledge of Hindi or English language is mandatory for students to take part in a tour programme to other states, as part of Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav (75 years of Independence)," Mr Nagesh said in a tweet.
The department will take disciplinary action against officials or staff responsible for creating confusion, he said.
As part of the tour programme, a total of 50 students will be sent to Uttarakhand in a batch and as many students will be travelling from the northern state to Karnataka.
Following the controversy, Kannada Development Authority (KDA) Chairperson TS Nagabharana has written to the department urging it to change the criterion of selection and provide opportunity to students who speak Kannada.
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