kasaragod, May 24,2017: The Kerala government had recently promulgated an ordinance to make teaching of Malayalam mandatory in all schools in the state. Expressing anguish over the move of the Kerala government to make Malayalam language mandatory from Class 1 from the new academic year, pro-Kannada organisations laid siege to the office of the District Collector on May 23, Tuesday.
The protesters, who arrived at the district collector’s office at 6 am, surrounded the entire office compound - covering a 16-acre land - and shouted slogans against the Kerala government. All the eight entrances to the collectorate office were blocked, preventing the government employees from entering the office. As a result, over 75 departments, including the district collector’s office, the district consumer forum, the zilla panchayat and other government departments, could not function on Tuesday. Over 1,200 government employees returned home having been unable to enter their respective offices.
The police personnel had restricted the movement of vehicles in front of the collector’s office as well. All the pro-Kannada organisations and political parties, except the CPM, supported the protest. Kannada students, teachers, writers and Yakshagana artistes were also part of the protest.
Inaugurating the protest, Kondevooru seer Yogananda Swami accused the officials of trying to erase Kannada from the soil of Kasargod. The order on making learning Malayalam compulsory would harm the interests of Kannada-speaking people, said the seer.
Islam religious leader Maulana Abdul Ajeej said that all people, irrespective of political parties and castes, should fight in unity to safeguard Kannada.
Bela Church priest Vincent D’Souza said that the ordinance would slowly result in Kannada losing the status enjoyed among the linguistic minorities. The government should rectify the clauses in the ordinance as it has compelled the linguistic Kannada-speaking minority to learn an additional subject of Malayalam, along with existing three languages. About 20,000 Christian community members from Kasargod and Manjeshwara taluks will back the protest against the ordinance, he promised.
Stating that the Kasargod Zilla Panchayat has passed a resolution opposing the ordinance, the Zilla Panchayat president A G C Basheer said that the resolution has been submitted to the Kerala state government.
Kannada lovers from Hosadurga taluk, Bedadka, Kuthikkolu, Uduma, Pallikere, where Malayalam is dominant too, had taken part in the protest. The protesters sat on the road under the scorching sun till 2.30 pm.