NEW DELHI: A day after a Central advisory had gone to Universities and educational institutes to observe September 29 as "Surgical Strike Day", Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said it was about "patriotism, not politics."
He denied political motive behind the move and insisted that the Universities had been merely "advised" to celebrate "an occasion to commemorate armed forces' efforts to protect the nation".
Javadekar told reporters in the capital 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 University Grants Commission had issued the letter after suggestions and representations by students and teachers from across the country.
On Thursday, UGC had issued a circular to educational institutions, encouraging students to pledge their co-operation and support for the armed forces.
The circular also listed out points for universities to follow, thereby directing them to take up special activities to mark the day.
"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.
Javadekar's reaction comes amid Opposition criticism that the BJP-led Union government was "politicising" surgical strikes. 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 Line of Control.