Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha on Saturday has spoken out on the video clip that showed him asking participants who did not know Hindi to leave the online meeting. He has said that the national conference and training session for naturopathy doctors, which has now turned into a controversy, was sabotaged by some uninvited participants.
In an interview with CNN-News18 on Saturday, Kotecha has said, “We arranged for a nationwide training programme for yoga and 350 people from different state governments were expected to participate. Some 60 to 70 extra people who were not expected also came. As soon as I started speaking, they started disturbing and started shouting. There was some manipulation. They came in and wanted to sabotage everything,” he said.
#BREAKING – AYUSH Ministry secretary Rajesh Kotecha clarifies on Hindi rule row.
Some people tried to sabotage the even when I spoke in both Hindi and English: Rajesh Kotecha (Secy, AYUSH Ministry) tells CNN-News18’s @payalmehta100
— CNNNews18 (@CNNnews18) August 22, 2020
“I said I am speaking in Hindi and English, both. Because from North Indian participants, I got messages that I speak in Hindi. So these hooligans started shouting only English, only English. But I said no, I will speak in both languages. They were not ready to listen. This was the kind of manipulation,” he added, and claimed that only a particular portion of the video was being circulated online and made into a controversy.
“Some vested interests barged in and this has been manipulated by them,” he claimed. When asked if he felt that it was being made into a controversy to fuel Hindi imposition, Kotecha answered that some group has manipulated the issue.
Kotecha sparked controversy after a video clip showed him asking participants who did not know Hindi to leave from a national training session organised online by the Ministry of AYUSH and Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga for Master Trainers of Yoga held between August 18 and August 20. In videos circulating online, the secretary can be heard saying, “I have got information that, for the past two days, there has been an issue…people can leave…I don’t speak English very well. So, I will speak in Hindi.”
On Saturday, doctors from Tamil Nadu had written a formal letter of complaint to the Ministry of AYUSH flagging quality issues in training and discrimination for not knowing Hindi.
Political leaders in Tamil Nadu on Saturday demanded action against Kotecha. Condemning Kotecha for his act, DMK President MK Stalin said it was shameful on the part of the Secretary to act in an “uncultured” and “uncivilised” manner.
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) August 22, 2020
DMK leader and Lok Sabha member Kanimozhi demanded the suspension of Kotecha for allegedly asking non-Hindi speaking doctors to leave the training session.
In a tweet, Kanimozhi said: “The statement of Secretary of the Union Ministry of AYUSH Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha that non-Hindi speaking participants could leave during a Ministry’s training session speaks volumes about the Hindi domination being imposed. This is highly condemnable.”
She added: “The government should place the Secretary under suspension and initiate appropriate disciplinary proceedings. How long is this attitude of excluding non-Hindi speakers to be tolerated?”
— Kanimozhi (கனிமொழி) (@KanimozhiDMK) August 22, 2020
Makkal Needhi Maiam chief and actor Kamal Haasan too tweeted that it was the government’s responsibility to function in a manner that was understood by all. “It is the generosity of these (Tamil) doctors that they don’t question these AYUSH Ministry officials on how they can understand our medicine without understanding Tamil. It is the duty of the government to operate in a language that everyone can understand. This is not the Hindi government. Do not forget that it is the government of India,” he tweeted.
“Not knowing English is understandable, but this arrogance of asking those who don’t know Hindi to leave and insisting on speaking in Hindi is totally unacceptable,” tweeted Congress MP Karti P. Chidambaram.
AYUSH training in Hindi ignores Tamil Nadu delegates – The Hindu https://t.co/gE52LTUlGZ Not knowing English is understandable, but this arrogance of asking those who don’t know Hindi to leave and insisting on speaking in Hindi is totally unacceptable. #StopHindiImposition
— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) August 22, 2020