PANAJI: Scores of activists of Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) on Friday held a rally in city and later gathered at the Azad Maidan and demanded stoppage of grants to English-medium schools from next academic year.
BBSM members also urged the government to file criminal cases against those who organised rasta roko at 17 places during FORCE agitation on July 31. It also said that parents were coerced into joining the agitation on flimsy grounds.
BBSM also demanded that the government should allot special grants to Marathi and Konkani-medium schools as promised, by October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti Day).
BBSM president Shashikala Kakodkar, who is also a former chief minister besides a member Arvind Bhatikar, state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, historian Prajal Sakhardande, Prof Lele, former Editor of Sunaparant Uday Bhembre, Fr Mousinho de Athaide, Konkani writer Pundalik Naik, freedom fighter and poet Naguesh Karmali and many others were present at the meeting.
BBSM vowed to continue the agitation till the demands are met. It was said that the parents have the right to give their wards primary education free of cost in the language of their choice. It was also said that the future of the state lies in the hands of youth who will be better off if they study in local language.
Another BBSM member said that now Goan youth are ashamed of speaking in local language. He said that BBSM is not against education in English but want parents to have choice of education in local language adding “if the grants continue till 2016 then the matter will go out of their hands and so the government should stop it at the earliest.”
Another BBSM member questioned as to how eleven MLAs can pass a law in the assembly to continue grants to English-medium school when they do not have the majority.
Earlier, a two-minute silence was observed as a tribute to former president of India A P J Abdul Kalam well-known as ‘Missile Man’ who had passed away recently in Shillong. The agitators said that even Kalam propagated imparting of primary education in mother tongue.
Former chief minister Shashikala Kakodkar was praised for supporting education in mother tongue when Congress government was in power.
A parent said, “By all means, grants to foreign language should be stopped once and for all. English is not our mother tongue,”
Another parent said that if a child is educated in the mother tongue then it will be an asset as there would be no communication gap between parents and children. It was also said that education through mother tongue is their birth right and they will fight for it till the end adding, “We do not want vulgar culture to dominate us but want our culture to be protected through medium of instruction.”