‘Ensure wellbeing of artists’ HC directs J&K, Ladakh UTs

TNN Bureau. Updated: 8/2/2020 11:28:14 AM Regional News

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the union territories of J&K and Ladakh to ensure that steps are taken for the welfare and well-being of the traditional and folk artists.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar was hearing a Public Interest Litigation on Covid-19, examining the difficulties faced by several marginalized groups in both the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh due to the pandemic.

When the PIL cameup for hearing, the Bench observed that the plight of one group which must be facing special difficulties on account of lockdown restrictions and the need for social distancing has escaped our notice.

The imposition of the lockdown and the social distancing norms has completely taken away the means of income of artists including local artists and musicians which include amongst others the traditional bandwallas, Dholak players also associated in marriage processions from Barat who carry lights and decorations.

"It needs not much imagination to understand that the availability of works to these groups is at the best of time seasonal and sporadic. At the current time, they must be on the brink of ruining and must be provided for," DB observed and directed Chief Secretaries of the two Union Territory to direct the Secretaries or authorities of the department concerned with the social welfare and Arts and Culture to take steps to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of the art traditional and folk artists.

DB also directed that appropriate steps for preservation of the art must also be taken, seeking a report in this regard before next date of hearing. Regarding Plight of classical artists, Division Bench further observe that it also does not need elaboration that as a result of social distancing norms and COVID19 restrictions, performance in theater has completely ceased. As a result, classical art forms in dance and music which cater to audiences in theater have come to a grinding halt.

DB further observed that Classical artist, in music and dance forms appear to have escape any consideration. Their welfare is completely unaddressed.

DB further observed that judicial notice can be taken of the measures which are being taken in foreign countries where public performances are being slowly reintroduced but in different format, say in open theatres in old building, Athens, Greece and directed the Chief Secretary to place this issue before the appropriate authorities concerned with classical art and culture in the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh to look into the matter of preservation and promotion of the classical dance, music and art form and to take steps for the welfare and well being of classical artists. DB also directed report in this regard shall be placed before this court before the next date of hearing.

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