File photo of Swami Agnivesh, a Hindu human rights activist/Reuters
New Delhi: A NHRC national seminar was on Tuesday interrupted after activist Swami Agnivesh objected to Union labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya delivering his address in English and asked him to use Hindi instead.
"Bandaruji it will be better if you speak in Hindi. Our Prime Minister uses our language at UN and other international forums, and you speak good Hindi. It will be better if you use Hindi in your speech," Agnivesh said.
The Union minister was interrupted by the activist after barely few minutes into his speech at the opening of a two-day seminar on bonded labour hosted by the National Human Rights Commission, at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi.
Dattatreya obliged Agnivesh but said, he was using "English for the benefit of non-Hindi speakers as it was a national seminar, and people have come from all parts of India."
"Ok, as Agnivesh ji says, I will speak in 'Rashtrabhasha'. People from different parts of the country don't fully understand Hindi, so I will say a few things in between in English," the minister said.
But, a section of audience objected to use of Hindi, saying, "We do not understand Hindi, please use English for everyone's benefit."
Prior to Dattatreya, NHRC chief Justice H L Dattu delivered his opening address in English.
One of the NHRC member, who shared the dais with Dattatreya and Dattu, responded to Agnivesh's insistence on use of Hindi language, saying, "It is a national seminar, and English is being used for the larger audience."
Officials from International Labour Organisation (ILO) and united nations Development Programme (UNDP) were also present on the occasion.