UGC asks universities and colleges to celebrate ‘Surgical Strike Day’ anniversary, politicians and academicians miffed

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: September 21, 2018

They said that the notice marks aggressive pseudo-nationalism and BJP is trying to project themselves as the nationalists as they feel great deficit of not being part of the national movement and are trying to force it on people and militarise campuses. 


New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) wrote to the Vice-Chancellors of all universities on Wednesday to celebrate Surgical Strike Day on September 29 to mark the event along the Line of Control that day in 2016.
The letter also desired that students pledge their support for the armed forces in writing that day.
“All higher education institutions with NCC units shall organise a special parade on 29th September, after which the NCC commander shall address them on the modalities of protection of the borders,” says the UGC letter. “The university/colleges may organise a meeting, calling ex-servicemen who will sensitise the students about the sacrifices made by the armed forces in protecting the borders.”
The Centre’s decision to observe the “Surgical Strike Day” comes two years after it said the army had carried out an operation across the Line of Control. The government has told the University Grants Commission to ask the 900-odd universities and 38,000 colleges to celebrate the occasion in a fitting manner and upload accounts and visuals of the activities on the UGC website.
“A spokesperson of Jamia Milia Islamia said the university was closed for the next three days and officials will be able to comment on Monday. The September 2016 surgical strikes against terror pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were India’s direct military response to the killing 19 Indian soldiers in a terror attack in Uri, carried out by a suicide squad that came from Pakistan. The commission has suggested the students pledge their support to the armed forces by writing letters that may be produced in digital and physical format. “The letters and cards should be shared with PRO Defence and PIB for publicity across media,” the UGC said,” reported Hindustan Times.
“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-serviceman to sensitise students about sacrifices made by the armed forces,” the UGC said in a communication to all Vice Chancellors.
“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.
In 2016, the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC. The Army had said its special forces inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Politicians and academicians against UGC order, won’t observe the day
“Historian Aditya Mukherjee of JNU, co-author of the book India's Struggle For Independence, disagreed with the idea of taking a pledge of nationalism from the people. “This is typically the BJP trying to project themselves as the nationalists. They have this great deficit of not being part of the national movement. Now they are trying to force it on people and militarise campuses. They wanted to install tanks in JNU and if we oppose it they will call us anti-national,” he told The Hindu. “We are not anti-army. But they want to push us through a nationalism test. Forcing people to prove their nationalism is no way to arouse nationalism. The way to arouse it is to create an idea of the nation that is appealing and inclusive,” in a report by The Hindu
“Panjab University Students For Society (SFS) on Thursday said it was opposed to the UGC decision to observe September 29 as “surgical strike day” and said it smacked of “aggressive pseudo-nationalism” while both the BJP-affiliated ABVP and Congress-affiliated NSUI lauded the move. The Left-leaning group, which won the president’s post at the Panjab University Students’ Council in the recent elections, stated that this was a “manipulation of students by the UGC to serve the interests of the government in power at the Centre” that wants to promote its own agenda,” reported The Indian Express
“SFS spokesperson Hassanpreet said, “The BJP government has used the armed forces, be it soldiers at Siachen, BSF, Kashmir forces to divert the masses from their corrupt scams and anti-people/student policies. By observing such a day, it is preparing the ground to propagate more hatred,” the report said.
“Eminent sociologist Andre Beteille, who said the government had no authority to instruct people on such matters, was described as a “Naxal sympathiser” by an RSS supporter. Asked about the order, Beteille said: “I look at it in a very negative light. The government has no authority to instruct people on these matters. The sacrifices of the army are appreciated. But this is not the way.” He said there are ways to encourage nationalism even though it is not “necessary for everyone to be a nationalist”. Beteille said: “One should be proud of belonging to the nation. But it is not necessary for everyone to be a nationalist,” reported the Telegraph.
West Bengal will not celebrate the day, state minister Partha Chatterjee said on Friday.
“The education minister criticised 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. He added, "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." "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 said in a report by The Tribune.
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