Upper House of parliament, Lok Sabha has passed the Jammu & Kashmir Official Languages Bill, 2020 on 23 Sep 2020. Under the J&K Official Languages bill Dogri, Kashmiri, and Hindi will be the official languages in the UT of J&K besides Urdu and English. The languages bill was passed by the voice vote despite opposition.

Why the bill is being opposed?

  • Gujjar and Sikh communities protesting the exclusion of Gojri and Punjabi languages from the official languages bill stating that it is anti-minority move.
  • Opposition party stating that the govt of India does not have legislative competence to frame the languages bill with respect to the language.
  • Further, only 0.16 per cent population of the Union Territory speaks Urdu which link the J&K region.
  • There is a argument that, No other state has 5 official languages.
  • It will the 131 year old status of Urdu as the sole official language of the Union Territory.
  • People will start demanding for inclusion of more languages as the official language.

Key Highlights

  • The J&K Official Languages bill make 5 languages including the Urdu, Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri and English, the official language of the region.
  • This was a pending public demand of the region since long.
  • It is developing the spirit of equality that triggered in after J&K was dropped of its statehood and bifurcated it into 2 UT in August 2019 through the J&K Reorganization Act 2019.
  • Urdu, Hindi and Dogri also among 8th Schedule Languages.

J&K Reorganisation Act 2019

The J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 gave legal mandate to revocation of Article 370. The Act 2019 was introduced to bifurcate J&K into 2 UT – J&K, and Ladakh.

New domicile rules

As per the rules, people belonging to West Pakistan, Valmikis, women marrying outside communities, non-registered Kashmiri migrants and displaced people will get domicile in the region.

Eight Schedule Languages

It is the list of 22 official languages recognized by the Constitution.  It includes Assamese, Bengali, Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Telugu, Sindhi (added by 21st Amendment Act, 1967), Konkani, Manipuri, Nepali (added by 71st Amendment Act, 1992), Maithili, Bodo, Dogri, Santhal (added by 92nd Amendment 2003) as the official languages. Jammu & Kashmir Official Languages Bill 2020