Dhimant R, a member of Shivasanchar theatre group in Chitradurga, told TOI that 15 members of his team have lost out on the golden opportunity. “The consulate office generally calls applicants for interviews a week in advance. Since the convention starts on September 2, we don’t think we will be called,” he said.
Irked by the government’s indecision, Dhimant said, “In the beginning, it was announced that 100 dalit artistes would be sent to AKKA convention. We are now realizing that it was just an eyewash to showcase its concern towards the community.”
The group’s manager, B Raju Lakkamuttenahalli said that they have given up hopes of obtaining a visa. “The delay in issuing a permit by Kannada and culture department has created this hurdle. After obtaining permission from the department, we had even paid Rs 2.12 lakh to the travel agent,” he said.
A theatre artiste from Dharwad, Sadanand Kale said that dalit artistes never harboured dreams of going abroad. “However, the social welfare department gave us this opportunity, and now, we have missed out on it,” he added.
Kannada and culture minister Umashree and social welfare department minister H Anjaneya were unavailable for comments.