The Rangayana issue remains unsolved even as the strike of the artistes, like-minded organisations and individuals demanding cancellation of the deputation order of 12 artistes and re-instatement of Rangayana director B.V. Rajaram entered the eighth day here on Friday. Two individuals staged a hunger strike, as part of the serial hunger strike, for the third day.

In-charge director of Rangayana K.R. Ramakrishna, who turned up at the Rangayana here, did not evince interest in meeting the striking artistes or engage them in a talk during his brief visit.

Theatre activities should be strengthened by the Ranga Samaja, the governing body of Rangayana, not the artistes, Mr. Ramakrishna said when presspersons questioned him.

The artistes on deputation had returned here and he was surprised why they had come back here, he said. He was interested only in clearing files of issues related to Rangayana and not anything else, Mr. Ramakrishna said.

The media too should highlight the priorities of Rangayana. The “Chinnara Mela”, annual summer camp, would be conducted at any cost, Mr. Ramakrishna said. The sacking of Mr. Rajaram was a government decision, he clarified.

‘Contract labourers’

The Sahiti-Kalavidara Okkoota under which the strike was being organised by the artistes stated in a release here that Rangayana was an autonomous body and the Ranga Samaja had the right to depute artistes to any place. But, the artistes could not be treated as contract labourers. What was the purpose of deputing them to other centres when the plans and programmes of Mysore Rangayana had not been implemented, the Okkoota said.

As an alternative, the Okkoota members suggested to the government to depute three artistes each to Dharwad and Shimoga for three or four months and bring them back here after the completion of the mission. This move would ensure that the Rangayana activities would not stop here abruptly. The other main demand was to rescind the order sacking Mr. Rajaram. The sudden transfer without assigning any reason was unjust, the members said.

The fight of the Okkoota was not in favour of the artistes or Mr. Rajaram, but for the theatre fraternity as a whole, they noted.

Rangayana artiste Prashant Hiremath and Gangadhar, an employee of BSNL (on behalf of theatre-goers), participated in today’s hunger strike.

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