Only one Billava artiste attends mela interview

UDUPI, AUG. 14. The controversy over the selection of Billava Yakshagana artistes for the Yakshangana mela organised by Sri Durgaparmeshwari Temple at Mandarti in the district took a new turn on Thursday.

According to sources in the Governing Board of the temple, the board had selected two of the 12 Billava Yakshagana artistes for the mela. They were called for an interview on Thursday. Only one artiste turned up for the interview. He informed the board that he was unable to join the Mandargi Mela as he had been chosen for another Yakshagana mela.

Billava leaders were in the dark about the selection. Reports reaching here said that a forum to protect religious rights and traditions was inaugurated at Mandarti on Thursday.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the artiste who attended the interview was Avarse Dinakar Poojary, who has been working at the Amriteshwari Mela. The artiste, who did not turn up for the interview, was Alemane Ganesh Poojary, who is working at the Madamakki Mela. The alleged discrimination against Billava artistes had become an issue after Airody Govindappa, Rajyotsava Award-winner, who is a Billava, alleged that the Mandarti Mela organisers had been discriminating against the Billava artistes.

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