"Even after the rains, the function is going on with the efforts (of Tourism Ministry)... I pray to God Indra to make the programmes go well in the coming days of the festival," he said after inaugurating the event at Rajpath here. Speaking on the occasion, Information & Broadcasting Minister Venkiah Naidu, said it is necessary to preserve the rich cultural heritage of India, but "some people are tarnishing the image of the country by highlighting certain isolated incidents here and there".

His comments are apparently towards the recent uproar over the atrocities on Dalits by cow vigilantes. "Our message is that India is one nation," he said. Parikkar said Tourism Ministry has done a "commendable job" by organising such a unique programme showcasing the
'Unity in Diversity' of India.

Addressing on the occasion, Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said Bharat Parv is a seven-day cultural extravaganza at the Rajpath Lawns showcasing the diverse culture, cuisine and handicrafts of the nation. He called upon the people to celebrate the life and spirit of India on this Independence Day. Later, speaking to mediapersons, Sharma reiterated the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement that PoK is part of Jammu and Kashmir and there cannot be compromise on national security.

"PoK is pride part of India. India has always been saying this," he said. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore and Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra were also present on the occasion. Later, a number of tricolor balloons were flown away by all the ministers as people chanted 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. The festival, which will culminate on August 18, will showcase India's cultural diversity with various folk and tribal dance performances from different states and UTs.

Latest Newsfrom India News Desk