The UGC on Thursday asked varsities and higher educational institutions across the country to observe September 29 as "surgical strike day", triggering a political row.
The “best way” to celebrate ‘surgical strike day’ would be for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the family of a BSF soldier who was tortured and killed by Pakistani troops this week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Friday. He also announced that his government will amend a rule on giving ex gratia of Rs 1 crore to martyred security personnel to include those who have settled in the national capital after joining the services.
The chief minister took to Twitter to respond to a UGC communication to universities to observe September 29 as “surgical strike day”. The UGC on Thursday asked varsities and higher educational institutions across the country to observe September 29 as “surgical strike day”, triggering a political row.
“The best way to celebrate surgical strike day wud be for the PM to visit the family of Sh Narendra Singh, who was tortured and slain by Pak this week (sic),” he tweeted.
Earlier in the day, he visited Haryana’s Sonipat to meet the family of BSF jawan Narender Singh, who was killed by Pakistani troopers along the international border (IB) near Jammu. The chief minister also demanded that the prime minister assure the nation that Pakistan would be given a befitting reply.
On the Delhi government’s policy of giving ex gratia of Rs one crore and a job to the next of kin of martyrs whose permanent address was in Delhi at the time of joining service, Kejriwal said, “We are holding a meeting of the Delhi cabinet on Tuesday in which we are going to change this rule.”
“There is a lacuna in this rule as several families (martyrs/ families) have settled in Delhi later. So, we will change this rule and bring changes in a manner so that we are able to include sacrifices made by martyrs like Narender and are able to provide this ex-gratia grant and a job to the next of kin of Narender ji,” he said. He said that Narender had joined the force in 1988 and at that time his permanent address mentioned was of Haryana.
Kejriwal said that in Narender’s case, he has come to know that for the last 8-10 years, he and his family were residing in Delhi. The chief minister strongly condemned the brutal killing of the soldier and said there was growing anger in the country over Pakistan’s actions.
“We strongly condemn this cowardly act. Pakistan killed him in brutal manner and tortured him before death…There is growing anger not just in this village or Haryana, but across the country for how long will Pakistan keep killing our soldiers like this,” he said.
Hitting out at the central government, he asked, “Why is the Centre appearing so helpless. Why is the prime minister not doing anything. “Before becoming prime minister, he (Narendra Modi) used to say that writing love letters (to Pakistan) won’t help. He used to say Pakistan will need to be taught a lesson in its own language. So, why don’t you give such a reply?” he asked.
In a jibe at the prime minister for his surprise visit to Pakistan nearly three years back, Kejriwal said, “If writing love letters won’t do, will cutting cake on their (the then PM Nawaz Sharif) birthday help. After all, for how long will our soldiers tolerate this. This is not acceptable to the country. We want action, we don’t want speeches.”
Asked if India should be playing cricket matches against Pakistan, Kejriwal replied, “Playing or not playing won’t stop the killing of soldiers at the borders”.
Kejriwal said that providing monetary help or job to next of kin of martyrs was in no way going to compensate their loss, but it was a measure to provide some relief to the families. He voiced the hope that the prime minister “will take steps so as to give a befitting reply to Pakistan”.
The mortal remains of BSF Head Constable Narender were cremated with full state honours at his native village Thana Kalan in Haryana’s Sonipat district on Thursday. The 52-year-old BSF jawan is survived by two sons and wife.