Chennai: Claiming victory after Union Home Minister Amit Shah clarified he never pitched for imposition of Hindi, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Wednesday put off its proposed September 20 protest over the issue.
Citing Shah's assertion that he has never asked for imposition of Hindi anywhere in the country, DMK President MK Stalin said the state-wide protest demonstrations in Tamil Nadu have been "postponed temporarily". He said Shah has also opined that his views on Hindi had been "wrongly understood."
"We consider his (Shah's) clarification as a big victory for the DMK following the party's announcement of protest demonstrations," Stalin said, two days after the party announced the agitation. However, if Hindi was imposed, the DMK will oppose it at all times, he warned.
Seeking to put to rest the controversy over his remarks on Hindi, Shah at an event in Delhi on Wednesday said he has never asked for imposition of Hindi anywhere in the country but advocated its use as the second language. The minister said he has been repeatedly pitching for strengthening regional languages.
Meanwhile, the ruling AIADMK said it never misunderstood Shah's remarks and accused the DMK of wrongly interpreting it and using it for political mileage.
"A language is the identity of a race, culture and tradition. We will hence, never accept Hindi imposition or for that matter thrusting of any other language. We never misunderstood Home Minister Shah's views," said AIADMK spokesperson RM Babu Murugavel.
Referring to DMK postponing the protest, he said they have "blackened their face".
State Congress chief KS Alagiri claimed the Centre was "rattled" by the protest call by parties in Tamil Nadu and hence utilised the office of Governor to convey that Hindi will not be imposed. "This is no doubt a victory for our alliance," he added.
Replying to a question, Stalin said Shah might have given the clarification as DMK's protest may spread across the nation. He also said Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, whom he met earlier on Wednesday in a sudden development, also opined that Shah's view had been misunderstood. The Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly said he was invited by the Raj Bhavan for a meeting with Purohit.
When the Governor broached the topic of DMK's proposed protest on September 20, he explained it was against Hindi imposition following Shah's recent Hindi pitch.
"After we explained the reason for our protest, the Governor said Home Minister Amit Shah's views have been misunderstood. The Governor was categorical that Hindi will not be imposed in Tamil Nadu," Stalin said.
The top Dravidian party leader flanked by senior party colleagues Duraimurugan and TR Baalu said he asked Purohit if the Central government will come forward to convey it.
"The Governor gave us an assurance that he is a representative of the Union government and that he was conveying it to us only after the Centre wanted him to convey it," Stalin said. He said Shah has clarified that he was not "for Hindi as the nation's sole language... made it very clear he has been wrongly understood," Stalin added.
On Monday, a high-level DMK meet had announced state-wide protest demonstrations would be held on September 20 to condemn Shah's Hindi pitch. Besides the DMK, other parties in the state, including the ruling AIADMK, have opposed Shah's remarks.