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Bathukamma Saris Set Afire, Women Fight On Streets

The much-touted Bathukamma sari distribution program was launched across Telangana today, but was marred by protests against poor quality.
Hyderabad | 18th September 2017
The much-touted Bathukamma sari distribution program was launched across Telangana on Monday, but was marred by protests against poor quality and fighting among women, with the saris set ablaze by women at some places.

The program was launched by ministers and elected representatives this morning. As per directions of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, nearly 1.04 crore saris costing (as per the government) Rs. 220 crores will be distributed to eligible women across the state for the Bathukamma festivities. The saris will be distributed across till September 20.

Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari launched the distribution program at Wardhannapet in Warangal district, while IT Minister K T Rama Rao took part in the event at Rajanna-Sircilla district. Nizamabad MP K Kavitha launched the program at Nizamabad. Bhongir MP Boora Narsaiah Goud, Munugode MLA K Prabhakar Reddy and MLC Karne Prabhakar distributed the saris at Choutuppal in Yadadri-Bhongir district. Various leaders of the ruling party attended the programs and distributed the saris in their respective segments.

KTR said that the saris would give work for nine months to the Sircilla handloom workers.

However, the distribution was mired in protests, violence and controversy. Several women set ablaze the saris claiming that they were Surat polyester saris costing Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 and not handloom saris as was originally communicated. In several places including in the Nalgonda, Suryapet and Yadadri districts and in Jagtial many women burnt the saris in a bonfire, and performed the Bathukamma rituals around them.

In other places, mainly in Hyderabad, women resorted to quarelling for the saris due to reports of short supply.

TRS leader Sanjay Kumar claimed that the Congress leaders in Jagtial were behind the saris being set ablaze. They complained to the police against a Rajender, the husband of a woman sarpanch of the Congress, and another leader Lakshmi for setting afire to the saris.

TRS leader Pidamarti Ravi also fumed at the opposition parties for provoking the sentiments of the women who had lined up to get their saris. The government with the aim of making the women happy during the festival had taken up the sari distribution, but the opposition was getting nervous at each and every welfare program and creating hurdles, he charged.
filed in:  Bathukamma, Social Welfare, Telangana, Protests
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