Surgical Strike Day: The Narendra Modi government at the Centre and ruling Trinamool Congress dispensation headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seems to be heading into a fresh rift, this time over the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) directive to varsities on Thursday and higher educational institutions across the country to observe September 29 as “Surgical strike day”.
“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 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.
Check UGC’s directives over Surgical Strike Day
However, taking strong objection to the Centre’s plans, the West Bengal government has categorically rejected the proposal asserting that educational institutes across the state will not “celebrate the day”.
State Education minister Partha Chatterjee yesterday criticised the central government alleging that the UGC’s direction on ‘Surgical Strike Day’ is a part of the BJP’s “agenda”. Chatterjee slammed the BJP-led central government for trying to “malign and politicise” the Army.
“This is an agenda of the BJP and it is trying to push this agenda by using the UGC ahead of elections. It is a matter of shame that they are using the UGC to achieve their political agenda,” Chatterjee said.
“We would have understood it had they asked us to observe the day in the name of sacrifices made by our soldiers. We have full respect for our soldiers and their sacrifices,” he said. “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 added.
The latest confrontation comes after the state government had in 2017 asked all universities and colleges under its jurisdiction not to hold the live telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on September 11 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago as directed by UGC.