Srinagar: Putting an end to the speculations that Urdu may lose its status as the official language of Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill 2020, PTI reported.
With this Bill, three new languages – Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi – will be the official languages apart from the existing Urdu and English in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Announcing the decision at a news briefing, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Bill will be introduced in Parliament in the upcoming Monsoon Session. The minister did not divulge further details saying the Bill be debated in Parliament soon.
The Bill received the Cabinet nod on Wednesday at a meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh said the government has accepted the ‘long-pending demand’ of the region for the inclusion of Dogri, Hindi and Kashmiri as officials languages in Jammu and Kashmir. He didn’t, however, explain whose demand it actually was.
“It is not only a fulfilment of a long-pending public demand of the region but also in keeping with the spirit of equality which was ushered in after August 5 last year,” he told reporters.
Before August 5, Urdu was the official language of J&K state, while official transactions and orders were also conducted and issued in English.
Dogra rulers recognised Urdu as a state and official language of J&K in 1889. Before Urdu, Persian was the official language of Kashmir for around three centuries.
In J&K, Urdu is the language of land and revenue records, courts (especially lower judiciary) and police (FIRs etc are all written in Urdu). It is also the mode of instruction in government schools, especially in Kashmir and the Muslim-majority districts of Jammu and Kargil.
Section 47 of the J&K Reorganisation Act passed last year empowers the new Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of J&K to “adopt any one or more of the languages in use in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir or Hindi as the official language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes.”
However, it could not be immediately known as to why did the centre come up with the new bill when the power to adopt any new language lies with the Legislative Assembly of the union territory.
Some quick reactions:
With inputs from Indian Express and PTI