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Patriotism, Not Politics, Behind Observing Surgical Strike Day, Says Javadekar as Congress Cries Foul

Taking a dig at the Centre’s decision, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday asked whether the University Grants Commission would 'dare' to celebrate November 8, the day when demonetisation was announced in 2016, as 'surgical strike day'.

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Updated:September 21, 2018, 5:13 PM IST
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Patriotism, Not Politics, Behind Observing Surgical Strike Day, Says Javadekar as Congress Cries Foul
File photo of HRD minister Prakash Javadekar.
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New Delhi: Under fire from the Opposition for ‘politicising’ surgical strikes, human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday said a UGC communication asking universities to celebrate the anniversary of the cross-border action was "patriotism, and not politics".

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the ruling party differed from the Congress as it only gave advice to institutes to follow a programme, while the Congress made following its decisions compulsory when it was in power. He added that an advisory, and not a direction, had been issued to universities.

"Where is politics? This is not politics but patriotism," he said, adding that students needed to be informed about the surgical strikes and military and civil works that soldiers do. He claimed that students and institutes had made suggestions that the second anniversary of surgical strikes, which the Army had carried across the border in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on September 29 in 2016, should be commemorated.

When asked why it was not commemorated last year, he said a good suggestion could be executed anytime.

Taking a dig at the Centre’s decision, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday asked whether the University Grants Commission (UGC) would "dare" to celebrate November 8, the day when demonetisation was announced in 2016, as 'surgical strike day'.

"UGC directs VCs 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. "Will UGC dare celebrate 8th November as Surgical Strike Day depriving the poor of their livelihoods? This another jumla!" the former Union minister said.

The UGC on Thursday directed universities and higher educational institutions across the country to observe September 29 as “surgical strike day”. Talk sessions by ex-servicemen about sacrifices by the armed forces, special parades, visit to exhibitions and sending greeting cards to pledge their support for armed forces, are among the activities prescribed by the commission for the celebrations.

“The NCC units of all universities should organise a special parade on September 29 after which the NCC commander shall address them on the modalities of protection of the borders. The varsities may organise a talk-session calling ex-servicemen to sensitise students about sacrifices made by the armed forces,” the UGC said in a communication to all vice-chancellors on Thursday.

“A multimedia exhibition will be organised around India Gate on September 29. Similar exhibitions may be organised in states, union territories, important towns and cantonments across the country. The institutions should encourage students and faculty members to visit these exhibitions,” the letter added.

(With PTI inputs)
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