Assam weavers protest against use of artificial silk

PTI Sualkuchi (Assam) | Updated on March 30, 2013

Indefinite curfew was clamped after silk weavers, observing a 12-hour bandh today, defied the prohibitory orders in Kamrup (rural) district protesting the use of artificial silk, official sources said.

The police fired rubber bullets after a lathi-charge and teargas failed to quell the weavers who ransacked shops selling silk clothes and made bonfires from these on the road. One person received injuries.

The weavers, who converged on the main market, also demanded that the State Bank of India branch down its shutters, the sources said.

The weavers alleged that artificial silk brought from other parts of the country for making the traditional Assamese attire was affecting them and the silk industry in the State.

They also alleged that the shops were not selling pure Assamese golden Muga Silk and white Paat Silk as the clothes, while burnt, turned to ash unlike pure silk.

The trouble began yesterday when the weavers set ablaze silk clothes, clashed with shopkeepers and threw stones at the police when they intervened injuring five of them.

Local people, who reared silk worms and were employed in the weaving industry, have been on the warpath for some time against the use of artificial silk from outside by traders for preparing traditional attires as it was cheap and had a better finish than the local silk varieties.

They claimed that local weavers, who used looms for weaving, were unemployed because of the machine-made products, while silkworm rearing had become extinct due to lack of market for the expensive silk.

They also accused that the State Government had assured to give Rs 100 crore for the survival of the Assam Paat and Muga silk industry facing stiff competition from artificial silk, but the funds were yet to be released.

Published on March 30, 2013

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