Chiranjeevi Kulkarni, Bengaluru: DH News Service, Jul 31 2017, 02:08 IST
After successful protests against the use of Hindi in Namma Metro, Banavasi Balaga is gearing up to take up the issue of absence of Kannada in the banking sector and plans protests in every district with the support of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV).
"Getting support for protest against Hindi imposition in Namma Metro was tough as many misunderstood it as anti-Hindi protest. In banks, Kannada has been wiped out with 90% of the banks limiting themselves to Hindi and English. This time, we are expecting a huge support,” said Banavasi Balaga’s Arun Javagal.
In June, an employee of a nationalised bank at K M Doddi in Mandya district told a farmer to "get out of India” if he doesn’t know Hindi, which led to protests by KRV members.
"The employee finally apologised. After the incident, we wrote a letter to all banks in the state requesting them to make Kannada compulsory in cheques, challans and various bank forms. We have decided to stage protests in front of all banks to send a message to the authorities,” KRV chief Narayana Gowda said.
For Arun Javagal, the absence of Kannada was a violation of RBI Master Circular (July 1, 2015), which mandates that 'all printed material used by retail customers including account opening forms, pay-in-slips, passbooks, etc., in trilingual form i.e., English, Hindi and the concerned Regional Language’.
"Most of the banks do not have any forms in Kannada. If we demand, they give by taking a printout. But why should we fight every day to get forms in our mother tongue? We will urge the RBI to make Kannada compulsory,” he said.
Carrot and stick
Javagal said banks follow all the rules related to Hindi as the RBI has warned of action otherwise.
"At the same time, the Centre gives awards for those promoting Hindi. The carrot and stick method has worked well but is marginalising regional languages,” he said.
Javagal said pro-Kannada groups will hold another round table meeting with parties and activists in other states working for protecting regional languages.
"MNS in Maharashtra and DMK in Tamil Nadu participated in the previous meeting. We will meet again and decide a date for the protest. As of now, we are planning to hold the protests in third week of August,” he said.