OTHERS

DYFI protests `discrimination' against Billava artistes

UDUPI, JULY 24. The district unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India on Saturday took out a padayatra to protest against the alleged discrimination against Billava artistes at the Yakshagana Mela organised by the Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple at Mandarti.

Inaugurating the padayatra, Admar Sripati Acharya, scholar, said the act of the temple's governing board in denying Billava artistes an opportunity to perform at the mela was wrong. Legal action should be initiated against the Board, he said and noted that all art forms were beyond the barriers of caste.

Airody Govindappa, Yakshagana artiste and Rajyotsava Award winner, who was allegedly discriminated against because he was a Billava, said the Mandarti Yakshagana Mela had a history of performances by Billavas as guest artistes. His struggle would continue until justice was done to Billava artistes, he said.

Malpe Raghavendra, Billava leader, called upon the backward classes to fight for social justice. The padayatra began from Gandhi Katte at Ajjarkad, passed through Taluk Office Road, City Bus Stand, and Bannanje, and ended in front of the office of the Superintendent of Police. The protesters submitted a memorandum at the office demanding legal action against the Governing Board.

S. Kaviraj, president of district unit of the Students' Federation of India; B.M. Naseer, its secretary; David Karkada, president of the All India Kisan Sangh district unit; V. Chandrashekar, secretary of the federation's district unit; and H. Narsimha, Umesh Kundar, and Sudhakar Kanchan of the federation were present.

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