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Activists stoke language row

State HRD minister Geetashree Oraon, who was recently pulled up by the Congress leadership for triggering a controversy over Bhojpuri and Magahi languages, has found support from an unlikely quarter.

A section of activists, who were associated with the statehood movement, on Tuesday said the two languages did not originate in Jharkhand and therefore should not be promoted as official dialects in the state.

“Bhojpuri and Magahi are not products of Jharkhand. We support the HRD minister’s stance that candidates, who passed the Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) with Bhojpuri and Magahi as an optional subject, should not be appointed in government schools,” said Sanjay Bosu Mallick, one of the activists, during a news conference at XISS.

He added the MLAs didn’t have any right to impose Bihari languages on Jharkhand. “It is a linguistic encroachment,” he said.

XISS director Alex Ekka seconded the demand.

On December 26, JDP staged a dharna in front of Raj Bhavan, expressing its solidarity with the HRD minister on the issue. JDP chief Salkhan Murmu also warned of a widespread agitation if the state government did not disqualify candidates who opted for Bhojpuri and Magahi in TET. The party will observe 2014 as “Domicile Year”.

In Jharkhand, the two dialects are popular mainly in Palamau and Garhwa districts, which are close to Bhojpuri and Magahi regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.