Why Puducherry institution JIPMER finds itself embroiled in the Hindi imposition controversy

Why Puducherry institution JIPMER finds itself embroiled in the Hindi imposition controversy

Why Puducherry institution JIPMER finds itself embroiled in the Hindi imposition controversy

Puducherry’s Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER) found itself embroiled in a controversy on Monday as various political parties came out in protest against a circular, which allegedly insisted that the staff use Hindi and English in official communications.

According to The Indian Express, over 500 DMK workers, including four MLAs, were arrested in the protest seeking withdrawal of the circular.

What did the circular say?

According to the report by The Indian Express, at least four circulars, issued by the JIPMER director, Rakesh Aggarwal, cited the Official Language Act of the Official Language Policy of the government of India.

The circular noted a non-compliance of the administration with Section 3(3) of the Official Language Act, 1963.

“Section 3(3) provides that the documents of general orders, notifications, resolutions, rules, administrative and other reports, press communiques, contracts, agreements, licenses, permits, notices of tenders and forms of tenders should be issued in bilingual form, i.e., in Hindi and English simultaneously,” the circular said.

The circular makes it the responsibility of the officer signing such documents to ensure that they were issued in bilingual form, both in Hindi and English simultaneously.

“Such documents should, therefore, be sent to the Hindi Section for translation before issue. All the heads of the departments and Section-In-Charges are requested to pay special attention and take necessary action to ensure strict compliance with this act,” the circular said.

Another circular, which cites Rule 11(2) of the Official Language Rule, 1976, said the headings and columns of registers and titles in the files used in Central government offices shall be in Hindi and English as per the Committee of Parliament on Official Language.

“In future, entries in all the registers/service books/service accounts will be made as far as possible in Hindi Only,” the circular said.

What did the protesters say?

Slogans ‘condemning’ the communication issued by the premier institute on the use of Hindi in circulars and records were raised by the protestors including some local youth.

DMK party convenor in the union territory and Leader of Opposition, R Siva, alleged JIPMER was already denying job opportunities for the local youths and the present circular directing use of Hindi was another blow on the locals.

“The circular should be withdrawn unconditionally,” he said, addressing the participants.

Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi leader and member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, T Velmurugan, also opposed the move and dubbed it as “brazen imposition of Hindi.”

As per a report by The News Minute, MDMK leader Vaiko also called upon the JIPMER management to immediately withdraw the circular in Hindi. The PMK state leadership also came out against the circular in Hindi.

The LG comes out in defence

A JIPMER spokesman, cited by The Hindu, said that the circular was issued as per the directions of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language.

“The Institute has been asked to comply for a proposed inspection to be carried out soon. JIPMER doesn’t have a say in this, and is only implementing the directive (of the panel),” the spokesman said.

Later, Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan visited the institute to hold discussions with officials and insisted there was no such imposition and that the regional language Tamil was being accorded due priority.

“There is a specific circular that Tamil should be given priority particularly in all communications relating to the patients and services to the people in the institute,” she said.

“There is no imposition of Hindi in any manner,” she asserted.

JIPMER was a prestigious institute and “one should not interfere in its functioning by making allegations”.

She said all internal matters relating to staff knowing only Hindi were having the option regarding the language.

“There is no imposition of Hindi and patients approaching the institute were getting the benefit of communications in Tamil”, she added.

“Let there be no politicisation as services of JIPMER should never suffer any interference. I assure that Tamil is given priority in JIPMER,” she said.

Tamil was being used in display boards on top of other languages.

“JIPMER is functioning without any discrimination and all protests were uncalled for”, she added.

With inputs from agencies

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