Press Trust of India

Congress welcomes inclusion of new official languages

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Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) on Thursday welcomed the decision to make Dogri, Kashmiri, Hindi, Urdu and English as the new official languages of Jammu and Kashmir.
In addition to these languages, the Congress has sought official recognition to other widely spoken languages like Punjabi, Gojri and Pahari besides Sheena and Bhaderwahi to truly respect the multilingual and multicultural diversity of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday approved a bill under which Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi, apart from the existing Urdu and English, will be the official languages in the UT. The Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020, will be introduced in the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.
“We welcome the inclusion of Dogri, Kashmiri, Hindi, Urdu besides English as the new official languages of Jammu and Kashmir,” JKPCC Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
He said the move is welcome in keeping the multilingual and multicultural identity of the unique region of the country but the Centre and Union territory administration should give official recognition to other such languages, which are spoken by lakhs of people having large population in vast areas of the erstwhile historical state.
The government should respect the emotions and sentiments of maintaining their own cultural and linguistic identity within the UT and Union of India as this is the strength of the our pluralistic country, he said.
Meanwhile, the Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir have sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to include Gojri language in the list of official languages of Jammu and Kashmir.
They hailed the decision of the Union Cabinet and demanded that Gojri be included in the list based on merit as it is the oldest and quite significant besides being the third-largest spoken language of J&K.
A meeting in this regard was organised by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation held here on Thursday under the chairmanship of noted tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi which was attended by Gojri writers, tribal elders, and students, a spokesman said.
The speakers of the meeting stated that Schedule Tribe Gujjars-Bakerwals cannot understand Kashmiri and read and write Dogri – the two regional languages included in the list and demanded that Gojri must be included in Jammu and Kashmir Languages Bill 2020 as it is a separate tribal language.
They appealed to the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister to intervene and include Gojri, which is the mother tongue of Gujjars-Bakerwals forming a separate ethno-tribal group having different linguistic lineage besides history, art, culture, lifestyle, crafts and socio-economic conditions.
Activists of Dogra Front on Friday celebrated inclusion of Dogri language as a new official language of J&K by beating drums and distributing sweets in Jammu city.
Ashok Gupta, president of the organisation, said it is the conclusion of a 70-year-long battle for inclusion of Dogri as an official language. (PTI)

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