Surgical Day plan govt's political agenda: Opposition

Surgical Day plan govt's political agenda: Opposition

The Modi government’s move to observe September 29 as ‘Surgical Strike Day’ has kicked up a political row. 

The Congress and Trinamool Congress flayed the move, calling it as “political agenda” of the BJP-led government at the Centre ahead of the Assembly elections in five states later this year and Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar, however, defended the government’s decision, saying the events planned to mark September 29 as ‘Surgical Strike Day’ are aimed at “enhancing” the glory of the Indian Army and “inspire” students with their patriotism and valour.

“I denounce the Congress’ charge that we are politicising the surgical strike. On the other hand, we are telling students how armed forces defend our country and how they conducted the surgical strike (on September 29, 2016),” he told reporters when asked for his comment on the row on Friday.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday asked all higher education institutions to observe September 29 as ‘Surgical Strike Day’ by organising various activities on their campus.

Suggesting a host of activities to mark the day, the higher education regulator asked the institutions to organise a special parade of the NCC (National Cadet Corps) cadets and call ex-servicemen to their campus to sensitise students about the sacrifices made by the armed forces in protecting the country’s borders
“After which the NCC commander shall address them (students) on the modalities of protection of the borders,” UGC secretary Rajnish Jain said in a circular, asking all university vice-chancellors to “initiate action” on the suggested activities.

Senior Congress leader and former HRD minister Kapil Sibal criticised the move.

“UGC directs VC’s (vice-chancellors) of all universities to celebrate 29th September as Surgical Strike Day. Is this meant to educate or to serve BJP’s political ends?” he tweeted.

West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee also objected to the UGC’s directive.

“This is an agenda of the BJP and it is trying to push this agenda by using the UGC ahead of elections. This is not right and we won’t support it,” a multimedia news agency quoted Chatterjee as saying in Kolkata.

Javadekar, however, clarified that the UGC circular was advisory in nature, not mandatory.

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