The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed universities all over India to celebrate ‘Surgical Strike Day’ on September 29. The letter includes suggestions to observe the day.
Recap of the Surgical Strike
- The Indian Army on 29 September 2016, launched a surgical strike on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan.
- About 45 terrorists and 9 Pakistani army-men¬†were killed in this operation, which lasted for around 6 hours.
- It was reportedly a retortion to the militant attack on army base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir where 18 brave soldiers were killed and several others were injured.
Instructions to the universities¬†
- The letter suggests students pledge their support to the armed forces in writing. “The students shall pledge their support for the armed forces by writing letters and cards which may be produced in both physical and digital format”, states the letter.
- The physical letters of support may be sent to nearby cantonments or shared with the army officers visiting colleges to meet students.
- It also desires all higher education institutes with NCC units to organize a special parade, followed by a speech on border protection by the NCC commander.
- The university¬†may also invite ex-servicemen who will sensitise students about our country.
- It also recommends encouraging students to visit the Multimedia Exhibition to be organized at¬†India Gate¬†and similar exhibitions in major cantonments across India.
West Bengal Education Minister, Partha Chatterjee criticised the central government and accused them of using UGC for their “political agenda” to gain votes in the next elections.¬†“The Indian Army has always been kept above politics and controversies. But now we are seeing that the BJP is trying to malign and politicise the Indian Army. This is not right and we won’t support it,” he said. He further declared that “Bengal will not celebrate Surgical Strike Day”.¬†On the other hand, Arvind Kejriwal¬†advised the Prime Miniter to visit BSF Head Constable, Narendra Singh’s home in Sonipat. The BSF jawan was tortured and his throat was slit by Pakistani troops this week. Earlier today, the Delhi Chief Minister visited the slain jawan’s home.
An altercation arose following this decision by the Centre. Congress leader, Kapil Sibal said, “It is absolutely shocking. In fact, I don’t think since independence, we have seen UGC giving any kind of directive of this nature to universities. For UGC, to give a directive is destroying the very independence of the university system.”¬†He later questioned if UGC will celebrate 8th November as ‘Surgical Strike Day’. (The BJP-led government announced demonetisation¬†on November 8, last year)
Hitting back at the criticism, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said ‘no politics, only patriotism’. He said, “We have not made any compulsions on institutions or students. We have issued a program because of suggestions from many students and teachers that they need to commemorate the second anniversary of surgical strike.”¬†