The Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party unit will not allow the imposition of Hindi on the state, President K Annamalai said on Tuesday, reported The Indian Express.

The state BJP chief’s remarks came after Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said on April 6 that Hindi will be made compulsory in all eight northeastern states up to Class 10.

“If we require for work, education or other purposes, we can learn Hindi, but it cannot be imposed,” Annamalia said in a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday, according to The Indian Express. He said that he himself does not speak the language and there is no such situation that someone in the state has to speak Hindi to prove their nationality as Indians.

At the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee in New Delhi last week, Shah had said that “now the time has come to make the official language an important part of the unity of the country”. While India does not have a national language, Hindi is the official language of the country.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Annamalai accused the Congress of politicising the Hindi language for over 40 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the National Education Policy draft only after Hindi was made an optional language, he said, according to The Indian Express.

The BJP leader recommended that Chief Minister MK Stalin should write to chief ministers of other states, asking to make Tamil a compulsory language till Class 10 and that the state government will bear the costs for it. This should be done in order to make Tamil the link language, he said, The Indian Express reported.

Meanwhile, Shah on April 6 had described Hindi as “the language of India” and said that it should be used by citizens from different states to communicate with each other. Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English, and not to local languages, he had said.

Several Opposition leaders have strongly criticised Shah’s comments and said that were against the imposition of Hindi in any part of the country.