GUWAHATI: Prominent Assamese songstress Deeplina Deka, weighing in on accusations that the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government is attempting to limit Bihu shows to the first week of the Bohag month, dismissed the same while saying that the “controversy” has been primarily stoked on social media.
Interacting with scribes today, the ‘Sui Diya Na’ singer said: “As a singer I want to say that controversy wasn’t there. But controversy has arisen by itself in media and social media platforms. Actually, in the past it was discussed whether Bihu will be held for 7 days or 10 days. But I was clear about it as the honourable Chief Minister had never said that Bihu will only have to be held over 7 days.”
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has countered the accusations by saying “the Government never said that it will only let Bihu programmes be held only for seven days. What the government meant that it will give a financial aid of Rs 1.5 lakh to the committees who organise Bihu programmes without chanda (donations) in the first week of the Assamese Month (Bohag).”
Deeplina Deka added: “He (the Chief Minister) said that in the first 7 days, the Bihu committees in Assam that are older than 10 years will be given a contribution…they had set a criteria.”
Lauding the state government for this step amid the COVID-19 crisis, Deeplina Deka added that she has always known that the Chief Minister never meant to impose such restrictions in the first place.
“The bigger question is why such a rumour had come under discussion…but now that he (Biswa Sarma) has clarified it, we are happy.”
Deka’s statement comes amid roaring controversy surrounding the upcoming Bihu festival amid the government’s apparent attempt to discourage donations (chanda).
Singer Zubeen Garg, a staple at Bihu shows across Assam, has been quoted as saying, “the people of Assam will celebrate Bihu how and when they want. We do not want people to interfere with our festival. The Artist have never interfered with the elections or the campaigning. There were election campaigns even when the COVID-19 was still a major threat.
At the same time, Sarma has publicly declared that the state government has no objection over holding Bihu functions by the committees.
Bohag Bihu in 2022 will commence on the 14th of April.
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