The Assam government on Monday introduced ‘The Assam Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ in the legislative Assembly.
The Bill will allow Bodo language in Devanagari script as an ‘associate official language’ for “all or any of the official purposes” of Assam.
Parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary tabled the bill in the assembly on behalf of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
“The salient feature of the Bill is to substitute the Section 5A of the Assam Official Language Act, 1960, to implement Clause 6.2 of the MoS (memorandum of settlement) signed on 29-01-2020 with Bodo groups.
“Proposed amendment will allow Bodo language in Devanagari script as an Associate Official Language for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Assam. Therefore, the Bill proposes to substitute Section 5A of the Assam Official Language Act, 1960,” as per the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill.
Congress legislator Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha said while he supports the grant of the status to the Bodo language, Bengali should also be accorded a similar status.
“If Associate Official Language status is being accorded to the Bodo language, then why also not to Bengali language,” he asked.
Patowary said that the government gives equal importance to all languages.
“This Bill has been brought following the BTR pact. So one should not raise issues like why it has been given to one language and not to the other,” he said.
The three-day winter session of the Assam Assembly began on Monday on a stormy note.