Assam Bengalis oppose Kolkata's Bengali language push

There are differences over making Bengali first language in Assam and FIRs have been filed in different police station across the state against the drive.

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GUWAHATI: Several Bengali organisations in Assam have denounced the social media movement –– ‘Chalo Paltai’ (let’s change) –– started up by a group of intellectuals from West Bengal to make Bengali the first language of Assam.

The campaign comes at a time when the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is underway and the final NRC is expected to be published by July 31 this year. First information reports (FIRs) have been filed in different police station across Assam against the movement. A senior official in the Intelligence Wing of the state police, who did not want to be named, told ET, “We have kept the whole campaign under the scanner and are monitoring both the social media and the ground situation. This campaign is launched by a couple of people from West Bengal.”

“Their main contention is that Hindu and Muslim Bengalis must write Bengali as their mother tongue in the next census which is likely to be in 2021. This will make Bengali the first language of Assam,” he added.

He said, “At least 3-4 FIRs have been filed and cases are being investigated. The entire linguistic minority organisations in Assam are opposing this campaign.”

Kamal Choudhury, president of the All Assam Bengali Yuva Chatra Federation, said, “We are born in Assam. We are not concerned about West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is strange that these people (behind the campaign), who have never taken up issues like the flood problem or ever spoken in favour of Hindu Bengalis in times of crisis, have suddenly become active.”

“This mischievous section is trying to damage the age-old relations between the Assamese and Bengalis in Assam,” he said.
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