NEW DELHI: A day after an advisory was sent to universities and educational institutions to observe September 29 as “Surgical Strike Day”, Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said it was about “patriotism, not politics.”
He denied any 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”.
“Where is politics? This is not politics but patriotism,” Javadekar told reporters in the capital, adding that students needed to be informed about the surgical strikes, and the 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 following suggestions and representations by students and teachers from across the country.
On Thursday, the UGC issued a circular to educational institutions, encouraging students to pledge their cooperation and support for the armed forces.
The circular also listed points for universities to follow, directing them to conduct special activities to mark the day.
Talk sessions by ex-servicemen about sacrifices by the armed forces, special parades by the National Cadet Corps and visit exhibitions are among the prescribed events by the UGC for the celebration.
“A multimedia exhibition would be organized around India Gate on September 29, 2018. Similar exhibitions may be organized at all 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 suggested that the students pledge their support to the armed forces by writing letters and cards which may be digital or on paper.
"The letters and cards should be shared with PRO Defence and PIB for publicity across various media,” the UGC said.
Javadekar’s reaction came amid Opposition criticism that the BJP-led Union government was “politicising” the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army in 2016 on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control.