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Lalu's circular on station names backfires
May 17, 2007 14:52 IST
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Thursday withdrew a controversial circular directing that names of trains and stations be written in Hindi and English along with Tamil in Tamil Nadu after noisy protests by members in the Lok Sabha.
Raising the matter during Zero Hour, BJD member B K Tripathy read out the circular of the railway board and said the ministry should follow the principle of three-language formula for the entire country, instead of such a decision meant only for Tamil Nadu.
This prompted vociferous protests from BJP and other members, forcing adjournment of the House for over 30 minutes.
When the House re-assembled, similar protests continued with Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi assuring the House that the government was very clear in this matter.
"We have to respect all languages without any discrimination." "We will actively address the issue at the appropriate level. There should be no apprehensions in future," he said.
On persistent demand from the Opposition that the circular be withdrawn, Dasmunsi said he would bring it to the notice of the railway minister for taking appropriate action.
Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said the feeling of all sections of the House "cannot be ignored" and the established three-language practice should be followed. At this stage, Lalu Prasad, who entered the House, announced: "I withdraw the circular," and said his ministry would have a rethink on the whole matter while taking everyone into confidence. The minister said he had respect for all languages.