Members of the Kochi Music Foundation (KMF), who are facing a lot of criticism in the last few days, have now written a letter to the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. KMF has said that 'an official investigation into the matter would help them prove their innocence'.
They had earlier planned to call a press meet on Tuesday to explain their side. This was however cancelled and now there are reports that the KMF would bring out a video instead.
A Right To Information reply published by Yuva Morcha leader Sandeep Varier showed that the foundation had delayed the payment promised to the Chief Ministerâ€™s Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF), after a grand music concert was held on November 1, 2019. The KMF was formed for the purpose of organising a music fest annually in a grand scale, like the Kochi Biennale. When the first edition of the music festival happened in the aftermath of the 2019 floods of Kerala, the organisers announced that they would donate the money they made from the ticket sales to the CMDRF. The venue, Regional Sports Centre in Kadavanthra, Kochi, was therefore let for free. The first event was called Karuna.
The RTI query on the event revealed that the organisers had not yet made the payment. KMF member and musician Bijibal explained that they had sought time from the District Collector to pay the amount by March 31, end of the financial year, since they could make only one fourth of the expenses from the ticket sale. However, the organisers paid the amount the very same day the allegation rose and said that a press meet would be called on Tuesday to explain their side.
The press meet was however cancelled and the letter to the CM was released. The foundation has been criticised for delaying the payment and also for contradicting its stand on the purpose for the concert. KMF members however say that there was no intention of not depositing the money, but since they incurred a loss, they had hoped to raise money by selling video rights.
â€śThe members of the foundation had spent their own money to conduct the concert. It was a unanimous decision to contribute the ticket sales of the first event of the festival to the CMDRF. However the foundation could not make the money to cover the expenses through the ticket sale, without having a sponsor for the event. It is when the organisers were planning to raise money through other means as selling video content rights of the event that very unexpectedly, a politically charged attack happened,â€ť the letter says.
It is when some members of the foundation took part in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that they began getting personal attacks from certain quarters, the letter alleges. â€śIt became a major attack with accusations, that the KMF has swindled the CMDRF fund and misused government machinery, coming even from peopleâ€™s representatives. In a situation where the pride and the reputation of the artistes who are working towards an international music festival are hurt, we request you to announce an urgent investigation into the money dealings of Karuna and bring out the truth,â€ť the letter ends.
The letter is signed by all seven members of the KMF: musicians Bijibal and Shahabaz Aman, filmmakers Aashiq Abu, Kamal KM and Madhu Narayanan, actor Rima Kallingal, singer Sithara Krishnakumar, and writer Syam Pushkaran.