Jawaharlal Nehru University VC has announced that the varsity will be celebrating the ‘Surgical Strike Day’ as per the circular issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) which has suggested educational institutes to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the historic surgical strike carried out against Pakistan on 29 September 2016.
We’ll be celebrating in JNU. JNU is very closely related to the defence forces. When our alumni go & fight for us at the borders, as a University, we must recognise their contribution: M Jagadesh Kumar, JNU VC, on UGC advisory on Sept 29 to be celebrated as ‘Surgical Strike Day’ pic.twitter.com/q11cDR0kUf
— ANI (@ANI) September 21,
“When our alumni go and fight for us at the borders, as a University, we must recognise their contribution,” said Jagadesh Kumar, JNU vice chancellor. Earlier, controversy had erupted when the circular was brought out by the UGC with the opposition accusing the government of trying to ‘politicize the army’. The UGC had released a circular to higher education institutions to hold programmes and activities to celebrate “Surgical Strike Day”. It had suggested organising special parades, written pledges of support for the armed forces and meetings with ex-servicemen.
The West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee had said that the state will not celebrate the ‘Surgical Strike Day’. He accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre of 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.
He further added that they have full respect for the soldier and their sacrifices and said that they would have understood and celebrated it if the UGC had asked to observe the day as a respect for sacrifices made by the soldiers. According to Chatterjee, the Indian Army has always been kept above politics and controversies and the party won’t support anything which maligns the Army.
While the HRD ministry clarified that the above circular is not mandatory, the Opposition was quick to take it as an opportunity to attack the government.
Kapil Sibal, a senior Congress party leader has also questioned the idea of celebrating Surgical Strike Day and called it as “another jumla”. “Is this meant to educate or to serve BJP’s political ends?” Kapil Sibal said in a tweet today. He accused the centre of interfering in the functioning of the UGC by issuing such circulars.
It is absolutely shocking. In fact, I don’t think since independence, we have seen UGC giving any kind of directive of this nature to universities. For UGC, to give a directive is destroying the very independence of the university system: Kapil Sibal, Congress pic.twitter.com/jIhzkNBmaN
— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2018
However, Union HRD Minister has cleared that the government has not made any compulsions on any institutions or students. He further added that the Ministry thought of this idea after receiving suggestions from many students & teachers that they need to commemorate the second anniversary of the surgical strike.
We have not made any compulsions on institutions or students. We have issued a program because of suggestions from many students & teachers that they need to commemorate the second anniversary of surgical strike: Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on #UGC circular pic.twitter.com/L4aAWi7Inf
— ANI (@ANI) September 21, 2018
Indian Army Special Forces had conducted a surgical strike along Line of Control on September 29, 2016, was the first of its kind operation on Pakistani terror launch pads. While the figures of casualty vary between 35 to 50, Pakistan continues to reject the claims of surgical strike.