In a fresh row over “Hindi imposition” in Tamil Nadu, the manager of the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), Jayamkondam branch in Ariyalur district, was transferred after a septuagenarian customer alleged he was denied a loan for not knowing Hindi. A bank official, however, said the loan was denied only in view of the customer’s age.
The manager, Vishal Narayan Kamble, who hails from Maharashtra, has been moved out to the IOB’s regional office in Tiruchi.
The incident drew strong reactions from political parties, which have been alleging an attempt to impose Hindi in Tamil Nadu. DMK President MK Stalin warned playing with sentiments would create sparks, could spread like wildfire.
A retired senior civil surgeon, Dr C Balasubramanian, 76, alleged when he approached Kamble for a bank loan furnishing property documents as collateral, the latter refused to process it citing “language problem”.
According to him, the manager asked him if he knew to speak Hindi. “I told him I knew Tamil and English. But Kamble told me he was from Maharashtra and won’t be able to go through the documents in Tamil due to language problem. He asked me if I knew Hindi,” claimed Balasubramanian. “I can understand if the loan was not sanctioned for some other reasons. But language cannot be invoked as an issue. He kept saying he was comfortable in Hindi,” the doctor said, adding “it pained me a lot.”
Kamble said he was not authorised to speak to the media and hence would not comment on the charges.
However, soon after the allegations became public, the IOB chief manager issued an order to Kamble. “We advise having transferred you to regional office, Tiruchi, as senior manager, where you should report for duty immediately,” the transfer order read. It did not mention any reason for the transfer.