Courtesy: New Age, Dhaka, National, Dec 5, 2010
Artistes protest at Cultural Diversity Festival anomalies
Artistes who were taking part in the Cultural Diversity Festival in Dhaka went out on demonstrations at the festival venue on Saturday in protest at anomalies and mismanagement of the organisers.
The four-day festival, taking place at the Bangabandhu International Convention Centre, ends today.
About 300 ethnic minority artistes shouted slogans and went on a token hunger strike about midday when they came to know that they were given honorarium much less than what was given in other years.
Pranab Kumar Tripura, who joined the festival with his dance troupe from Rangamati, said the artistes had become angry when they were offered Tk 7,000 each.
As they went out demonstrations, an official of the UNDP-CHTDF (Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility) paid the artistes Tk 10,100 ‘in an arrogant manner,’ Pranab said.
‘In the first festival, we were given Tk 7,000 and in the next, the amount increased to Tk 16,000. But this time, in the third festival, they offered only Tk 7,000, which was not enough even to meet the cost of costumes,’ he added. Pranab said the accommodation facilities were also poor. ‘Ten people were kept in a three-bed hotel room.’
The Chittagong Hill Tracts affairs ministry and the UNDP are organising the festival, with the theme ‘Unity in Diversity,’ aimed at introducing traditional ethnic minority life and culture to the mainstream people.