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Anti-English protestors threaten Goa shut down Monday

Sunday June 05, 2011 03:29:28 PM, IANS

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Panaji: Agitators have vowed to shut down Goa Monday in protest against the government's decision to provide grants to schools where education is imparted in English.

Bharatiya Bhasha Shiksha Mandal (BBSM), a grouping of politicians, right-wing political parties, freedom fighters and litterateurs, which has taken up cudgels against English has called for state-wide shutdown.

The academic year in Goa's schools begins Monday.

"Whenever there are agitations to save Indian languages, people have sacrificed their lives. This time too, we are ready to lay our lives. Indian languages have survived because of the masses and not on political patronage," Pundalik Naik, a national literary award winner and a member of the BBSM, said.

Former chief minister Shashikala Kakodkar, who is the convenor of the BBSM, said the Congress-led coalition government in the state had bulldozed and granted financial aid two weeks back to schools teaching in the English language.

"This move will finish off regional languages. The government's promotion of the English language is anti-national. We have received support from across the party lines, even the Congress MLAs (legislators) are supporting us in defiance of the party decision," she said.

The Goa government was offering aid and grants only to schools which teach in Konkani or Marathi. A cabinet decision May 25 allowed English language schools to also avail the government's financial grants.

The Forum for Rights of Children's Education (FORCE), a parents' front backed by a large section of Catholic politicians and the clergy, has backed English as the medium of instruction. The BBSM, supported by a section of freedom fighters and rightwing protagonists and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), backs both Konkani and Marathi languages as the medium of instruction.





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