Coastal MLAs demand Tulu to be declared 2nd official language in Karnataka


Team Udayavani, Jul 19, 2023, 9:36 AM IST

Representative image

Bengaluru: MLAs from Karnataka’s coastal region set aside their party affiliations and joined forces to demand the declaration of Tulu as the state’s second official language. The issue was raised during the calling attention discussion in the assembly on Tuesday evening.

Congress MLA Ashok Kumar Rai emphasized that there are over 1 crore Tulu speakers in the state and highlighted the historical significance of Tulu with the establishment of the Tulu Academy in 1994 during Dr. M. Veerappa Moily’s tenure as Chief Minister.

Kerala also has Tulu Language Academy. An American University has made provision to fill the application forms in the Tulu language. Tulu should be declared as the second official language in Karnataka, he said.

Support for the proposal came from BJP MLA Vedavyas Kamath, who pointed out that the previous government had already completed the necessary processes for granting official language status to Tulu. Kamath expressed optimism that the present government could make the final decision during a cabinet meeting.

Both Rai and Kamath even addressed the assembly in Tulu, underlining the language’s importance.

However, some members of the assembly and the record-keeping staff faced challenges in comprehending the discussions in Tulu. BJP’s Suresh Kumar suggested that the Tulu discussions should not be recorded in the official records.

Congress MLA Basavaraj Rayareddy argued that Tulu is not recognized as a constitutional language and urged that its official status be declared, making it accessible to all.

In response to the debate, Assembly Speaker U.T. Khader, who himself spoke in Tulu, reassured that the government would respond to the matter after consulting various departments.

Minister for Kannada and Culture Shivraj Tangadagi said that a committee chaired by Dr. Mohan Alva had already studied the issue and recommended gathering opinions from concerned departments before making a decision.

Vedavyas Kamath contended that the committee’s formation was already based on the opinions of the Law Department and Parliamentary Affairs, suggesting that further opinions might not be necessary. All that is left is to make a decision in the cabinet, he said.

Advocates for Tulu’s official language status pointed out that other states, such as West Bengal and Kerala, recognize multiple languages as official, while Karnataka currently has Kannada as its sole official language.

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