After DMK MP Kanimozhi tweeted on Sunday that a Central Industrial Security Force officer questioned if she was an Indian when she asked the woman official to speak in Tamil or English, former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said today that he, too, had faced similar taunts from government officers.
"I have experienced similar taunts from government officers and ordinary citizens who insisted that I speak in Hindi during telephone conversations and sometimes face to face," Chidambaram wrote on Twitter.
In a series of tweets, he said that the experience of DMK MP Ms Kanimozhi at Chennai airport is not unusual and added that the government "must insist" that its employees are bilingual.
"If the Central government is genuinely committed to both Hindi and English being the official languages of India, it must insist that all central government employees are bilingual in Hindi and English," he said.
If the Central government is genuinely committed to both Hindi and English being the official languages of India, it must insist that all central government employees are bilingual in Hindi and English.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) August 10, 2020
"Non-Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts quickly learn functional, spoken Hindi. Why cannot Hindi speaking recruits to central government posts learn functional, spoken English?" the former finance minister added.
On Sunday, DMK MP Kanimozhi had written about the incident in a Twitter post.
"Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if 'I am an Indian,' when I asked her to speak to me in Tamil or English as I did not know Hindi. I would like to know from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi. #hindiimposition," Kanimozhi who is also the DMK's women's wing secretary said on her Twitter handle.
Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if “I am an Indian” when I asked her to speak to me in tamil or English as I did not know Hindi. I would like to know from when being indian is equal to knowing Hindi.#hindiimposition— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) August 9, 2020
She later told News18 that nobody has any right to question her Indianness. "I am as much Indian as anybody else," she said, adding that BJP was making it political.
"They are running an agenda to impose Hindi, including in the new National Education Policy," Kanimozhi further said.
The CISF later issued an apology to the MP on Twitter and sought details of the incident to initiate appropriate action into the matter. The CISF has ordered an Enquiry into the matter. It is not the policy of CISF to insist upon any particular language," they tweeted.