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Those living in Bengal must speak Bengali: Mamata

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday that people from other States will have to speak in Bengali in West Bengal.While the message evoked mixed response in the social media, with many Bengalis opposing the idea, it appeared to be a clear attempt message to create space for linguistic and regional nationalism to counter religious nationalism. The idea has been advocated by various language pressure groups in the State for some time.“We have to take Bangla forward. When we go to Delhi we speak in Hindi, when we go to Punjab we have to speak in Punjabi. I do it. When I go to Tamil Nadu, I don’t know the Tamil language, but I know a few words. So in the same way if you are coming to Bengal you have to speak in Bengali,” Ms Banerjee said.She further added that “people from outside cannot come to beat up Bengalis.” Ms Banerjee was addressing a rally in Kanchrapara in North 24 Parganas district. Two key leaders of the area, Mukul Roy and Arjun Singh, moved to the BJP from the TMC.“In Naihati, Kakinara, Barrackpore, houses of Bengalis have been ransacked. We will not tolerate this. Our party cadres didn’t ransack houses of non-Bengalis here. We are against this sort of violence,” she said.“Just because they have won a few seats by programming EVMs doesn’t mean that you can beat up Bengalis and minorities in the state. We will not tolerate this. The police will take action against the hooligans. If someone is living in Bengal he or she has to speak in Bengali,” Ms Banerjee said. A Trinamool Congress advisor told The Hindu that the Chief Minister wais “concerned” about the “growing political clout of the people who do not speak Bengali and are from other States.”“So long these communities only pushed their economic interest in the State but being affluent now they are also pushing their political interests, contesting elections and influencing agendas, as every party has substantial number of people who have come to the State over last few years. This has bothered the Chief Minister,” the advisor said. Ms. Banerjee, however, said that she had “nothing against non-Bengalis living in Bengal.” “But the BJP is trying to create a Bengali and non-Bengali divide. I would urge them not to test our patience. We will never allow Bengalis to become homeless in Bengal,” she said. Alleging that the BJP was trying to turn West Bengal into another Gujarat, she alleged that just like the BJP engineered riots in the western state to retain power, it was trying to use the same technique in Bengal.“We have nothing against Gujarat or residents from that state. We are against the politics of riots that the BJP had followed in that state and is trying to replicate here. As long as I am there I would never allow them to turn Bengal into another Gujarat,” she said.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more