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Konkani script row may snowball into a major issue

Special Correspondent

Rally organised to support the cause of Roman script for the language

PANAJI: The controversy over Konkani script is likely to snowball into a major issue after a rally organised on Friday to support the cause of Roman script for the language, under the aegis of Dalgado Konkani Academy (DKA), served an ultimatum on the State Government to amend the State's Official Language Act to accord equal status to Roman script along with Devanagiri by December 20.

The rally that was organised to coincide with the silver jubilee session of the All India Konkani Parishad to protest the parishad's policy to back Devanagari script, got a major boost with Deputy Chief Minister Wilfred de Souza of the Nationalist Congress Party and South Goa Congress MP Churchill Alemao attending it and pledging their support.

Mr. Wilfred de Souza kept off inaugural session of the parishad on Friday as guest of honour. He has pledged the NCP's support for the amendment of the Official Language Act to accord official status to Roman script.

Addressing the rally, Fr. Pratap Naik of Thomas Stephens Konkani Kendra said: "Roman script is 500 years old, Devanagiri was started in 1883 by a Catholic priest Sebastiao Delgado from Assagao."

Contesting the contention of supporters of Devanagari script that it was a natural script, president of DKA, Wilson Mazarello, said Devanagari is being used for a little over 100 years, while Roman script is 500 years old.

With ruling party leaders openly backing the demand for inclusion of Roman script in Official Language Act, the controversy of the script is poised to vertically divide the Konkani-speaking people.

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