Bangladesh mulls protest against India’s GI recognition of Tangail saree

The government calls an emergency meeting after India’s claim that the product originates from West Bengal

Published : 3 Feb 2024, 08:28 PM
Updated : 3 Feb 2024, 08:28 PM

Amid demonstrations against the Geographical Indication recognition of Tangail saree as an India-origin product, the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks has called a meeting to discuss the issue.

Besides setting a course of action, the meeting on Sunday will consider lodging a protest against India’s claim, the department’s Assistant Director Md Belal Hossain said on Saturday.

"Tangail is not a part of India, nor does the Tangail saree belong to India," he said.

The department’s Director (Trademarks) Md Zillur Rahman said they could not respond earlier because Friday was the weekend.

“But we’ve called an emergency meeting now. We’ll inform the director general and the secretary after taking necessary steps,” he said.

The controversy ignited when the Indian Ministry of Culture, in a Facebook post on Thursday, asserted that the Tangail saree originated from West Bengal, a claim that contradicts the saree's deep-rooted association with Bangladesh.

This assertion came after Nadia, a district in West Bengal, was awarded the GI tag a month earlier for this textile, traditionally known for its distinctive weave and design, attributed to Bangladesh.

The World Intellectual Property Organization defines Geographical Indications as markers on goods indicating a specific geographical origin, signifying qualities, reputation, or characteristics inherent to that locale.

A group of citizens on Saturday demonstrated in Tangail against the Geographical Indication tag of handloom sarees native to this central region of Bangladesh, but claimed by India.

The demonstrators wielding placards demanded urgent government intervention to secure the GI status for Tangail sarees, a matter of national cultural heritage.