Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday said that all the official languages in the country had equal status and asserted that Kannada was the “principal language” in his state. Several politicians, especially from the south, have opposed to Home Minister Amit Shah’s comment on Saturday that Hindi was the only language that could unite the country.

“We will never compromise its [Kannada] importance and are committed to promote Kannada and our state’s culture,” Yediyurappa tweeted.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Monday made a reference to the home minister, saying that “no shah, sultan or samrat” can renege on the promise of unity in diversity made when India became a republic.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday had called Shah’s remarks absurd as it was not the mother tongue of a majority of Indians. He had also said that the Union minister’s statement was a “war cry against the mother tongues of non-Hindi speaking people”.

Soon after Shah’s comment, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin had threatened “another language protest” if Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not clarify what the home minister meant.

On Saturday, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and other Kannada organisations held protests across the state and observed a “black day”. Congress leader Siddaramaiah on the same day said the “misinformation campaign” that Hindi was the national language must be stopped, and added that critics were not opposing the language but its imposition.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had also criticised the minister and pointed out that Kannada had equal constitutional status as Hindi. Leader of Tamil party Paattali Makkal Katchi S Ramadoss claimed Hindi could “never be the identity of India” as it would deprive rights of other languages.

Many other politicians, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi have also condemned Shah’s remarks.

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