Agartala: Opposition parties on Monday slammed a Tripura government committee's proposal to introduce Hindi as a medium of news on all local TV channels instead of "Kokborok", the state's second official language since 1978.
The Information and Cultural Affairs Department committee on April 6 proposed that "instead of using 'Kokborok' as a medium of news, Hindi may be introduced as it would promote nationalism and people from outside the state also could follow".
The main opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) condemned the proposal, saying Hindi may be promoted but not at the cost of "Kokborok", the official language of the indigenous tribals.
"Hindi may be promoted, but the regional and tribal languages should also be given due importance and recognition. We strongly oppose the proposal," CPI-M's Tripura state secretary Bijan Dhar told the media.
He said the first Left Front government headed by former Chief Minister Nripen Chakraborty in 1978 had introduced "Kokborok" as one of the official languages of Tripura.
Congress Vice-President Tapas Dey called the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government "anti-tribal" for taking the "undemocratic decision".
"The proposal was announced a month ago and the state government has remained silent. We demand its immediate rejection," Dey said.
However, the BJP has rejected the opposition's claims saying that "a committee's recommendation could not be a government's decision".
BJP ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), said it was "unaware of the proposal". "We don't know anything about such a proposal," IPFT leader Ananta Debbarma said when contacted by IANS.
Amidst the controversy, Information and Cultural Affairs Department Director Bishnupada Das told IANS that "Kokborok" news would continue.
BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said that an official notification has not been issued and were "working to promote 'Kokborok' language".
"As far as Hindi is concerned, it is necessary to introduce it for bringing Tripura into same group with other major states. It does not mean that 'Kokborok' would be suppressed."