West Bengal today recognized Kamtapuri, Rajbanshi and Kurmali as new official languages in the state.
The Assembly today passed the West Bengal Official Language (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 recognising the three languages which will now join Bengali, Nepali, Urdu, Hindi, Santhali, Oriya and Punjabi as official languages.
State's Parliamentary Affairs and Education Minister Partha Chatterjee moved the bill which was passed by voice vote.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the decision to include the three languages in the official languages list was based on the recommendation by a seven-member Expert Committee headed by scholar Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri.
Stating that her government has respect for all languages, Banerjee said she had also urged the Centre to enlist the people belonging to 'Kurmi' community under Scheduled Caste category.
Banerjee ruled out the allegation made by the opposition CPI(M) and Congress that recognition to Kamtapuri language would instigate their separatist movement.
She instead accused the CPI(M) of instigating violence in Darjeeling and Jangalmahal areas.
An amendment to the West Bengal Official Languages Act, 1961 was necessary to declare these three local languages as official languages in the district, sub-division, block or municilpality, where the population of Kamtapuri or Rajbanshi or Kurmali speaking people exceeded 10 per cent as a whole or part of the district like sub-division or block.
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