Hindi signs on Bengaluru's Namma Metro covered up, but no one knows who did it

Activist groups deny they had any role in this, Metro officials are tight lipped
Hindi signs on Bengaluru's Namma Metro covered up, but no one knows who did it
Hindi signs on Bengaluru's Namma Metro covered up, but no one knows who did it
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On Monday morning, commuters at Bengaluru's Chickpete and Majestic metro stations were greeted by a strange sight. Gone was the clear white stencilling announcing the station name in Hindi. With hastily torn pieces of what looked like craft paper, stuck with long lines of duct tape, the trilingual signs had suddenly become bilingual.

The prominent blue and white board in these two stations, which just a few days ago, sported signs in three languages including Hindi, now had only two languages – English and Kannada.

There are even pictures of people standing atop the Metro building and putting duct tape on the sign boards, but surprisingly no one seems to know who is behind the act.

Pro-Kannada activists, who had started the Namma Metro Hindi Beda campaign, denied any participation in covering up the metro signs.

“The Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited must have got the signs removed under the direction of the Karnataka government. The BMRCL officials are not accepting this because they have acted under the direction of the state government and removed the signs but they had put up the signs because of the Centre in the first place. BMRCL probably did not want to get caught between the Centre and state,” said Chetan Ganesh, a member of Kannada Grahakara Koota, a pro-Kannada organisation.

A few days ago, duct tape was used on other stations too.

When TNM contacted Metro officials, they refused to comment on the issue. The Bengaluru Police said that no complaint of vandalism has been filed by the BMRCL.

Sources in the police department however told TNM that Metro officials had been informed that there could be trouble at these two stations and therefore decided to cover the Hindi signs before any kind of protests erupted.

This move comes just after the Namma Metro Hindi Beda campaign gained momentum in Bengaluru, with pro-Kannada activists taking to Twitter as they alleged that Hindi was being “imposed” on people in Karnataka.

Soon, it was revealed that the Urban Development Ministry’s Joint Hindi Advisory Committee had issued directions in December 2016 that all Non-Hindi speaking states must include Hindi in sign boards at metro stations.

Earlier on Wednesday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, during his visit to New Delhi, had strongly condemned the “imposition of Hindi in Bengaluru Metro”.

“Hindi is spoken in several north Indian states, it should not be seen as a language which is spoken across the country,” he said, while adding that Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu’s pro-Hindi statements were “not acceptable”.

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