Central govt virtually rules out recognition to Khasi language

NEW DELHI/SHILLONG, July 30: Meghalaya’s long-pending aspiration of recognition to Khasi language through its inclusion in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution received a severe jolt on Friday with Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai virtually ruling it out while replying to a question of Lok Sabha member from Shillong, Vincent H Pala.
Replying to a query by Pala, the Union MoS only repeated the official line that the Government is conscious of the sentiments and requirements for inclusion of other languages in the Eighth Schedule. “The Government will examine the requests keeping in mind these sentiments, and other considerations such as evolution of dialects into language, widespread use of a language,” he said.
“As the evolution of dialects and languages is dynamic, influenced by socio-political developments, it is difficult to fix any criterion for languages, whether to distinguish them from dialects, or for inclusion in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India,” the MoS said.
Two attempts, through the Pahwa Committee in 1996 and the Sitakant Mohapatra Committee in 2003 to evolve such fixed criteria have not borne fruit, Rai admitted.
“I am not satisfied as the reasons for the non inclusion was not clearly mentioned in the reply of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” a distraught Pala said later.
He said that he had put forth specific questions on whether the Khasi language is in the list to be recognized as one of the languages in the Eighth Schedule, if not the reasons therefore, whether the Centre has got the recommendations and state resolution for the inclusion and the steps taken by the Centre to include the language.
The Shillong MP however said that he would continue to raise the issue as it is the aspiration of the people of the state.
It may be recalled that the Khasi Authors’ Society (KAS), which has been spear heading the demand for inclusion of Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule, had expressed their dissatisfaction after no assurance was given by Union Home Minister, Amit Shah on their demand during their meeting with him in the city on Saturday last.
The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly had approved a unanimous resolution in 2019, asking the Centre to include Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
The two languages are understood, spoken, and used by the over 23 lakh Khasi and Garo tribals and are considered the associate official languages in the state.

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