Two days after the UGC issued an advisory to universities and educational institutions to celebrate September 29 as ‘Surgical Strike Day’, Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar Friday denied any political motive behind the move and instead called it an occasion to commemorate Army’s efforts to protect the nation.
“Where is politics? This is not politics but patriotism,” Javadekar said, adding that students needed to be informed about the surgical strikes, and military and civil works soldiers do. Pointing out that there was no compulsion on institutions or students, he said the ministry only issued a program on basis of suggestions received from teachers and many students.
Javadekar’s reaction comes amid Opposition criticism that the BJP-led central government was “politicising” surgical strikes. TMC leader and West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee’s criticised the BJP-led central government, accusing it of trying to ‘malign and politicise’ the Army.
Questioning BJP’s motives, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said “UGC directs VC’s of all universities to celebrate 29th September as Surgical Strike Day. Is this meant to educate or to serve BJP’s political ends?” Sibal tweeted.
On Wednesday, the University Grants Commission issued a circular to educational institutions, encouraging students to pledge their co-operation and support for the armed forces. The circular stated points for universities to follow, thus directing them to take up special activities to mark the day.
The circular among various other programs, directed NCC-units of of all varsities to hold a special parade to mark the day. “All Higher Education Institutions with NCC units shall organize a special parade on September 29, after which the NCC commander shall them on the modalities of protection of the borders,” the UGC had said in the communication to all Vice Chancellors.
“A multimedia exhibition would be organized around India Gate on September 29, 2018. Similar exhibitions may be organized at all the state capitals or Union Territories and important towns or cantonments all over India. The exhibition will be a public event and Higher Education Institutions may encourage the faculty and students to visit these exhibitions,” the letter added.
The commission had suggested that the students shall pledge their support for armed forces by writing letters and cards which may be produced in both digital and physical format.“The letters and cards should be shared with PRO Defence and PIB for publicity across various media,” the UGC said.
September 29, 2018 marks the second anniversary to the surgical strikes which were launched by the Indian Armed Forces in 2016 on seven terror launch pads across the LoC.