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Featured Image: Soumitra Chatterjee (2nd left) with Mamata Banerjee and others at the inauguration of the award ceremony on Saturday.

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 20 May: ACE actor Soumitra Chatterjee has at last accepted an award from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after having refused the same at least on two occasions in the past.

Chatterjee, considered pro-Left, was conferred Banga Bibhushan award by the Chief Minister at a ceremony organised at Nazrul Mancha in the city today afternoon. The award instituted by Mamata Banerjee after coming to power in 2011, carries a cash reward and a citation.

The acclaimed actor had refused to accept the same award when the Mamata Banerjee government had approached him earlier in 2013. Again in 2015, he did not turn up to accept the ‘Hall of Fame” award from the Chief Minister and his award was instead handed over to an emissary.

But finally today, Chatterjee relented and accepted in person the Banga Bibhushan award for 2017 from Mamata Banerjee. During the award ceremony, he was also seen interacting with the Chief Minister.

Apart from Chatterjee, other personalities conferred Banga Bibhushan award this year include, poet Nirendranath Chakraborty, industrialist YC Deveshwar, physician Dhiman Ganguly, and former IPS officer Arun Prasad Mukherjee.

Incidentally, Arun Prasad Mukherjee got the award today four days ahead of the 50th anniversary of Naxalbari uprising, which he had ruthlessly crushed with an iron hand first as the superintend of police of Darjeeling in 1967 and then as the deputy commandant of the Special Branch from 1969 – 72.

As a reward for this, Mukherjee was made the DGP of Bengal Police from 1990-1992. He also served as the Governor of Mizoram for a few months in 1998.

The Chief Minister today also conferred Banga Bhushan award on five personalities at the same ceremony. They are folk artiste Khidmat Fakir, thespian Chapal Bhaduri, folk artiste Lakshman Das Baul, Bangladeshi singer Rezwana Chowdhury Bonya, and physician Abhijit Chowdhury.

Speaking on the occasion, Mamata Banerjee urged the creative fraternity to stand by her government. “Criticise us if we go wrong but do not misunderstand us…The kind of talent we have can’t be equated with wealth. I urge the awardees to carry forward the legacy of Bengal,” she said.