Kanimozhi questions BJP’s month-long Vetrivel Yatra, language policy in tweet

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Member of Parliament (MP) Kanimozhi Karunanidhi on Wednesday questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Tamil Nadu (TN) unit’s month-long Vetrivel Yatra, which is slated to start from Friday (November 6), and asked whether the party would give Tamil the status of a national language.

Kanimozhi tweeted on Wednesday in Tamil, which loosely translates to: “Will the BJP’s TN unit, which is seeking permission for conducting a yatra to celebrate the deity Murugan, also ask for Tamil be given the status of a national language? The BJP is undertaking this yatra in the name of Lord Murugan, the chief deity of the Tamils, in an attempt to consolidate the Hindu votes.”

The BJP yatra assumes significance, as TN assembly polls are slated to be held in April-May next year.

TN has often raised concerns about Hindi being imposed on non-Hindi speaking states by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The DMK has been at the forefront of an anti-Hindi agitation in TN since the 1960s.

In August, Kanimozhi had tweeted about an incident at the Chennai International Airport while she was on her way to Delhi. A Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawan had reportedly asked her at the airport if she was an Indian because she didn’t know Hindi. Her tweet had accompanied the hashtag #hindiimposition, which had gone viral and triggered social media chatter for days on end.

Several social media users had joined the raging debate and recounted their bitter experiences of allegedly being ill-treated for their ignorance of Hindi.

Kanimozhi is among several prominent voices from the opposition in TN, who have questioned the BJP’s yatra.

The Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), a DMK ally, has urged TN Police to deny permission for the yatra, as it could create communal tension in the state.

Several opposition parties have questioned the timing of the yatra, which is slated to end on December 6 – the 28th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has also asked the state government to stop the yatra, citing similar concerns.

The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), a BJP ally, also criticised its partner for using the ruling party’s founder MG Ramachandran’s photograph in its promotional campaign for the yatra.

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