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Singer Manas Robin demands Assam govt to compensate artistes hit by COVID-19

GUWAHATI: Prominent Assamese singer Manas Robin has demanded ‘compensation’ for artistes from the BJP-ruled state government for the losses incurred during the pandemic.

Robin, who has been a vocal critic of the BJP-led government in Assam, said that the government’s attitude towards the performers — by imposing stringent SOPs — has caused immense stress to the fraternity.

Last year, the Covid-induced lockdown put a lid on cultural events which usually witness major performing artists and Bihu dance groups holding shows. With assembly elections getting over last week, the state government decided to allow celebrations this year, but with restrictions in place.

Amid reports that several artists have been found violating the government’s directive to wrap up the shows at 11 pm, Robin said, “They have allowed the functions to be held and at the same time also given such stringent directives. I have also heard that FIRs will be lodged. I feel that the government should give an amount to the artistes to cover up their losses. At the most, there will be 3,000-4,000 artistes — surely they can compensate them if they can churn our Rs. 30-40 crores to host the Filmfare awards. The government has a lot of money and they conducted rallies with lakhs of people.”

Robin, who featured in several protests against the Centre’s divisive Citizenship Amendment Act, said that these kinds of crippling restrictions will put further stress on the fraternity’s already sagging finances.

“Even though SOPs state that shows have to be wapped up by 11 pm, it might not be possible to do so as our people are not professionals. And when we are invited to perform at a fuction, we have no option but to do so irrespective of time,” said Robin.

“If the government truly believes that the COVID is out of control, they can ban public programmes. But to allow us to perform and then subject them to such treatment is a cause of great distress,” he added.

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