Abu Dhabi: Faced with an array of allegations of community appeasement and sidelining achievers from Tulunadu, Vishwa Tulu Sammelana, Dubai Chief Co-ordinator Sarvotham Shetty, on behalf of the organising committee of the Vishwa Tulu Sammelana, which was held for the first time outside India in Dubai, on November 23 and 24, with a heavy heart spoke to the Newskarnataka team in the UAE about the ‘gossip’ that was published in one of the newspapers in Mangaluru.
An eveninger in Mangaluru had published an article on Monday, November 26, stating that the Sammelana held in Dubai was marred by communal overtones and that the organisers tried to appease to just one community, sidelining and neglecting the achievers and talents from other communities of Tulunadu. The article went on to allege that despite receiving Rs 25 lakhs from the Government of Karnataka and from various philanthropists for the programme, the organisers neither acknowledged the same nor did they put out an account.
Responding to these allegations, Shetty said that the article was nothing but mere gossip and that the publishers of the article did not even have the courtesy to seek a clarification from the organisers before publishing the same. "This in itself shows their intention. If they were true, then they would have contacted us for a clarification. But, it so seems that their intention was to only malign us," he said adding that no community and its achievers were sidelined during the event.
"The guests, artistes and people who came for the event, are the proof for our claim. People from all communities were respected at the programme," he said.
Speaking about the government grant of Rs 25 lakhs for the event, Shetty said that while they were unaware of the same, they only learnt about it after the programme, that such an amount has been granted to the Akhila Bharatha Tulu Okkoota and that the organisers can submit the statement of accounts to the Okkoota to claim the amount. Even Minister Jayamala did not mention such a contribution from the government, he added.
"The accounts will be provided to the Sammelana Committee with documentary evidence and shall be submitted to the Okkoota as well. We have honoured all the sponsors. We regret if any names have been left out," he said adding that entrepreneur Ronald Colaco was asked to speak after the Minister, to which he said he would talk during the closing ceremony. "He, however, could not make it for the closing ceremony due to unavoidable circumstances," he said.
Another allegation made in the article is that MLA Umanath Kotian had used the platform to make a political speech and to promote a particular party. Responding to this, Shetty said that if the crowd responded in a particular way to the speech, the organisers cannot be held responsible.
About the unfortunate incident of tourists getting duped by fake tour agencies, he said, “Some unauthorised people worked as tour operators from India and we have nothing to do with them. In fact, free entry and food were given to the people who came through these unauthorised operators too. We did this because we did not want to disappoint the Tuluvas coming from Tulunadu.”
For the event, 6,000 tickets were sold and unfortunately, almost 1,000 people had to return. “We thank all who made the Sammelana of this magnitude a great success. We all need to work together for the sake of Tulu language and culture,” he said.
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