After Shops Get "60% Kannada" Order, Pro-Kannada Groups Go On Rampage
Pro-Kannada groups held a protest in the southern state today demanding all businesses and enterprises have nameplates in the local language.
The language row in Karnataka escalated sharply Wednesday after pro-Kannada groups held violent protests at various parts in state capital Benglauru, including the Kempegowda International Airport.
There are also protests outside a hotel; the video showed women and men, some in yellow and red scarfs (the colours of the Kannada flag) storming the courtyard and tearing down English signage.
One video showed a man attacking the English signboard of a salon and spa, as truckloads of men in red and yellow scarfs drive past. In another, men waving red and yellow flags protest outside an Airtel store; one man is defacing the sign by spraying black paint over the shop's red signboard, which is in English.
The protesters are demanding the immediate implementation of an order by the city's civic body, which directs all businesses to have 60 per cent of their signs in Kannada. The order followed a meeting with the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, seen by some as a right-wing group pushing the language row.
BBMP chief Tushar Giri Nath said commercial stores in the civic body's jurisdiction had till February 28 to comply, failing which they could face legal action, including suspension of business licences.
The language row is back in focus after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said in October "everyone living in this state should learn to speak Kannada". "We are all Kannadigas. People speaking different languages have settled in here (and) everyone living in this state should learn to speak Kannada."
In his earlier tenure too Mr Siddaramaiah had pushed for the wider use of the local language, and it was in his previous tenure that Hindi names of Bengaluru metro stations were targeted and covered with tape.