Hunger strike for enforcement of Handloom Act

 On Martyrs’ Day, Prasanna, theatreperson and chief of Charaka, an organisation striving to promote handlooms, began an indefinite hunger strike on the premises of Shrama Jeevi Ashram at Honnesara near Heggodu in Sagar taluk, urging the State government to implement the Handloom Reservation Act effectively.

Weavers of Charaka, Narasimhamurthy from Doddaballapur and Sunitha from Bangalore, working to promote handloom, were also part of the hunger strike.
Noted novelist Na D’Souza launched the indefinite strike. Farmer leader Kadidal Shamanna, litterateur Agrahara Krishnamurthy, critic D S Nagabhushan, poetess Savita Nagabhushan, Charaka Women’s Co-operative Society president Gowramma were present.

Prasanna said the government officials were not aware of the Handloom Reservation Act, 1985. As per the Act, manufacturing traditional cloth material with powerlooms is a punishable offence. Ironically, the government is promoting powerlooms and thus causing a disastrous impact on the handloom sector. In order to educate the government officials, people and the society on the Act, “I have begun the hunger strike. This is not against any political party,” he said.

Agitation

He said his agitation was not against the powerloom sector. “I have no objection if the government installs powerlooms in urban areas and in the special economic zones,” he said.

However, nobody has gained success by installing powerlooms in rural areas. In fact, a few dalits who installed powerlooms in Koppal district are incurring losses.

“I urge the government not to ignore handlooms, which provide employment to a large number of rural people and thus make them economically independent. Unless the government responds to the demand positively, the hunger strike will continue,” he said.

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