‘Bengali government banned Durga Puja and now takes credit for UNESCO honor’: BJP lashes out at Mamata Banerjee

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Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi took a dig at the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, on Thursday, saying it was “appalling” that a state government that “banned” Durga Puja and idol immersion took credit for the inclusion of the festival in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

During a press conference here, she said that the Ministry of Culture has also sent a proposal to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to include Garba dance from Gujarat in the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the United Nations. humanity.

Earlier this month, Banerjee had led a gathering to celebrate the inclusion of ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ on UNESCO’s list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

“The prime minister of West Bengal must be very busy and the advice she is getting from her advisers is questionable,” said Lekhi, the culture minister.

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She said the Ministry of Culture had sent a proposal to include Durga Puja on the UNESCO list in 2019, which was accepted in December 2021.

The MoS added that it was a matter of pride for all of India that Durga Puja was on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list and that “it was politically inappropriate”.

“It is appalling that a state government that banned Durga Puja and idol submersion took credit for this achievement,” she said.
She noted that all the traditions of the country should be valued with one voice, adding that Durga Puja was just as important in South and West India as it was in East India.

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Lekhi said the Ministry of Culture will honor artisans, artists and those involved in the Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata on Sept. 24.

“I urge everyone to come together this year and celebrate Durga Puja’s inscription on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage,” she said, adding that she herself will congratulate 30 craftsmen and artists, including ‘dhakis’, idol and pandal makers and others associated with the Durga Puja festival.

The minister also said that the Ministry of Education is the focal point for UNESCO in India, while the Ministry of Culture is involved in preparing dossiers for registrations on the UNESCO list and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is mobilizing international support to implement the proposal. success in voting for UNESCO .

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She informed that with the help of Sangeet Natak Akademi of the Ministry of Culture, the dossier for Durga Puja was prepared and sent to UNESCO.

“Everyone should rise above petty politics… Nominating Durga Puja for the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage is the pride of the country,” she said.

“According to the direction, we nominated Durga Puja because it is celebrated by all states, it is celebrated by everyone. In this process, it brings everyone together, it is unity in diversity,” she added.

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