Vol. XLII No. 18 May 06, 2018

Stop Privatising India’s Heritage

CPI(M) Polit Bureau has issued the following statement on April 28.

THE Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its opposition to the agreement (MOU) arrived at between the ministry of tourism, ministry of culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Dalmia Bharat Limited which virtually hands over the iconic Red Fort in Delhi to the Dalmia group for a period of five years in exchange for a payment of 25 crores.

The Dalmia group in its own press release has said that they will ‘have to own if for five years initially’ and the contract gives them the freedom to make the Dalmia brand prominently visible.  It has the right to use its brand name on all kinds of publicity material to be displayed during events organised at the site and also on all signage. In fact, it will be allowed to proclaim in a prominently displayed sign that the Red Fort has been ‘adopted by Dalmia Bharat Limited’.

It must be remembered that the Red Fort is not just one of many heritage sites in our country.  It is the place where the National Flag was hoisted in commemoration of the place that the Fort occupies in the history of our freedom struggle.  The first Proclamation of Indian Independence from British rule was read out from its ramparts by Bahadur Shah Zafar in l857.

Subsequently his trial was held in the Fort.  Some decades later, the historic INA trial which played such a significant role in the battle for Indian freedom was held in the Red Fort.  It is this fact that the Red Fort is a symbol of Independent India that has ensured that on Independence Day, 15th August, the prime minister addresses the nation with the Fort as his backdrop. Handing over this iconic monument to a corporate entity is nothing short of blasphemous.

The CPI(M) wishes to remind the government that the parliamentary committee that went into the issue of handing over heritage sites to private corporates had decided against this unanimously.  It urges upon the government to rescind its decision.