Centre Defends Move Amid Political Row

The UGC had asked the NCC to organise parades for Surgical Stikes Day. (File)

New Delhi: 

A directive to observe the second anniversary of “surgical strikes”, the Indian Army’s offensive against terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in universities and colleges is not a mandatory order, the centre clarified today after the move drew criticism from the opposition, which said the BJP-led government was trying to use the military to score political points.

“We have not made any compulsion neither to the institutes nor to the students. We have issued a program because it was a suggestion by many students and teachers,” Union Education Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

“And therefore on 29th of September, we have asked colleges – those who want to do – can arrange a lecture by an ex-army official who can describe to the student show the country gets defended… what is special feature of surgical strikes and how it was conducted,” he said.

“This is not political, this is not [a] BJP rally. I think this is the best thing to do on this occasion,” Mr Javadekar added.

The government’s clarification came after opposition parties including the Congress and Trinamool Congress lashed out at the move.

West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, of the Trinamool Congress, called the directive a part of the BJP’s “agenda” and said educational institutes in the state will not celebrate the day.

“This is an agenda of the BJP and it is trying to push this agenda by using the UGC…

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