Curfew was relaxed for three hours from 1 p.m. and the Army was withdrawn from trouble-torn silk village Sualkuchi in lower Assam’s Kamrup district on Sunday as no untoward incident was reported during the day.
Police have so far arrested five persons in connection with the violence that broke out in the silk village during a weavers’ protest against procurement of Varanasi silk products and their alleged sale by some local traders as Assam silk products at Sualkuchi.
In a bid to pacify the angry weavers, the Kamrup administration on Saturday night clamped a ban on such sale.
“Let Varanasi silk be sold as Varanasi silk. However, Varanasi silk products will not be allowed to be sold as Assam silk products in the district. We will carry out inspection in the entire district to enforce the ban,” Deputy Commissioner (DC) S.K. Roy told The Hindu.
Trouble began on Friday and flared up on Saturday with Sualkuchi weavers opposing the procurement by local traders of mekhla-chadors (traditional attire of Assamese women) made of silk from Varanasi. The agitating weavers burnt stocks of such mekhla-chadors and while doing so, clashed with police.
The Deputy Commissioner said the situation in the silk village was normal on Sunday and curfew would be relaxed longer on Monday. He said the Army had been withdrawn.
Shuttles fall silent
Dipak Bharali, a grassroots innovator from Sualkuchi who won the President’s State Award in 2009 for his invention — Chaneki (meaning design in Assamese), the extra weft insertion device for Jacquard handloom that makes weaving faster and easier — said no sound of fly shuttles could be heard for the second consecutive day.
“The sooner normality returns to Sualkuchi, the better. This is a crucial period for the weavers as only two weeks are left for the Rongali Bihu. Normally, weavers work overtime and even through the night to weave as many pat and Muga mekhla chadors. Every single day lost will prove to be costly for the weavers as it is during this period they hope to earn maximum because of high demand for the traditional attire,” Mr. Bharali added.