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At last we had a news copy published in 1999 describing the language row

It is exactly after 10 years, we have been able to keep our hand on an online copy of The Indian Express published on June 4, 1999, which carried the news item describing the row the Assam government had with the Manipur government over using the word “Manipuri”.

Through this article, let us go past and salute those people and organization whose relentless effort and struggle defended our identity.

Friday, June 4, 1999

Manipur, Assam in row over language

SAMUDRA GUPTA KASHYAP

GUWAHATI, JUNE 3: Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has invited more trouble by recognising the Bishnupriya language as ``Bishnupriya Manipuri''. This has led to strong resentment being express by Manipuris in the state and in Manipur.
The situation has come to such a pass that the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad of Assam has threatened to launch an agitation and the Manipur Government has gone to the extent of drawing the attention of the Centre. It has urged it to press Mahanta to drop the suffix Manipuri from the term.

The Assam Government had only last month announced its decision to recognise Bishnupriya Manipuri as a language of instruction at the primary level, following a long-standing demand of the Bishnupriya community of the state.The Manipur Chief Minister has criticised the Assam Government's decision, asserting that the Bishnupriya community was not part of the Manipuri community and that Manipuri and Bishnupriya were two distinct and separate linguistic groups.

While Manipuri belongedto the Tibeto-Burman family of languages, the Bishnupriya language was part of the Indo-Aryan linguistic group, he said.Putting up this argument, the Manipur Chief Minister has also said that while his government and community had no objection to the Assam Government recognising Bishnupriya as a language of instruction, the suffix manipur should be immediately.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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