Bengalis raise language voice

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Jamshedpur
  • Published 21.11.04
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Jamshedpur, Nov. 21: The Bangabhasi Samanvaya Samiti, an umbrella organisation of around 60 Bengali outfits in Jharkhand, today made it clear that the BJP-led coalition in the state might have to face the consequences in the Assembly election if second language status is not accorded to Bengali soon.

Over 10,000 Bengali-speaking people from all over the state converged on the Aambagan ground to participate in a rally organised to pressure the government to accord second language status to Bengali. This was the biggest-ever rally organised by the community in recent times.

Convener of the samiti Bikas Mukherjee said the organisation would continue to fight for its rights and would launch a series of demonstrations against the government to protect Bengali culture and language in the state.

Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee, the star attraction of the rally, stressed the need for Bengali being made the second language in Jharkhand.

?The government cannot ignore the Bengali-speaking community as it constitutes 42 per cent of the total population of the state,? said Chatterjee, adding that Bengali organisations in West Bengal would extend all help to ensure that the language gets its due share in the state.

He appealed to the community to unite and fight for the language.

The Bengali lobby had launched a campaign against the government before the Lok Sabha poll in May, too.

The defeat of Abha Mahto, BJP candidate from Jamshedpur, is attributed to the Bengali community boycotting her over the second language demand, among other issues.

Spectators at the rally were also given a cultural treat with ?Jhumur samrat? Bijoy Mahato regaling them with some of his popular numbers.

The presence of speakers from West Bengal ? such as research fellow in Bengali folk culture Shaktinath Jha, poet Ziyad Ali, the head of Bengali department, Bengali, Bhagalpur University, Vinay Mahato and general secretary of the National Linguistic Martyrs? Memorial Committee, Ratan Basu Majumdar ? also proved to be a crowd-puller.

In a gesture to express solidarity with the Bengali community, employees of Pal & Company, an engineering firm at Sundernagar, donated a day?s salary to the Bangabhasi Samanvaya Samiti.

Other demands of the samiti include formation of a Bengali academy, appointing a Bengali-speaking scholar to the state minorities Commission, ensuring supply of NCERT books in the Bengali medium schools, appointment of Bengali speaking teachers, and making Assembly proceedings available in Bengali., compulsory teaching of mother tongue in English medium schools, proper development and promotion of other local languages.