Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make Tamil an official language at the offices of the Union government and the Madras High Court.

He made the appeal while sharing a stage with the prime minister at an event in Chennai.

“Tamil should be made the official language of the Union [government] at par with Hindi,” he said. “I appeal to the prime minister to also make Tamil the official language at the [Madras] High Court”

Stalin’s comment came weeks after a nationwide debate on linguistic diversity erupted.

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. He described Hindi as “the language of India” and said that it should be used by citizens from different states to communicate with each other.

Several Opposition leaders had strongly criticised Shah’s comments saying they were against the imposition of Hindi in any part of the country.

On Thursday, the Tamil Nadu chief minister also called for exempting students from the state from the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test for entrance to undergraduate medical courses.

The question paper of NEET is prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education and is based on its syllabus, which is different from the Tamil Nadu state board’s academic curriculum. Tamil Nadu has been opposing the examination on the grounds that a common entrance test would harm the prospects of state board students.

In February, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had adopted a Bill to exempt the state from the entrance examination.

Stalin also requested Modi to ensure that the Centre pays Rs 14,006 crore to Tamil Nadu in Goods and Services Tax dues.