Observe 29 Sept as Surgical Strike Day, UGC tells varsities, higher educational institutes; experts call it 'forced nationalism'

In a first, the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday directed universities and higher educational institutes across the country to observe 29 September as "Surgical Strike Day" to mark the second anniversary of the Indian Army's strike against terror cells across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The move also comes months ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Talk-sessions by ex-servicemen about sacrifices by the armed forces, special parades, visit to exhibitions and sending greeting cards to pledge their support for armed forces, are among the activities prescribed by the UGC for the celebrations.

 Observe 29 Sept as Surgical Strike Day, UGC tells varsities, higher educational institutes; experts call it forced nationalism

Representational image. News18

"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-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.

The commission has suggested that the students shall pledge their support for armed forces by writing letters and cards which may be produced in both digital and physical format. The letters can be publicised on social media as well. "The letters and cards should be shared with PRO Defence and PIB for publicity across various media," the UGC said.

In the first such action, India carried out surgical strikes on 29 September, 2016 on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the army saying its special forces inflicted "significant casualties" on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Centre plans celebrations in New Delhi from 28-30 September

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has a three-day celebration plan from 28-30 September in place to mark the second anniversary of the strike. Modi is expected to attend the festivities at India Gate, reported DNA.

Videos showing the army's valour, exhibition with photos and music show will mark the event. Singer Mohit Chauhan and Kailash Kher are likely to perform on the India Gate lawns in New Delhi.

"The event hasn't been given any special name and will be held for marking the second anniversary of surgical strike. The general theme is showcasing valour of Indian forces," DNA quoted a defence official.

Academics express unease over UGC's decision

In light of UGC's letter, academics across varsities expressed their displeasure over the move and criticised the idea of taking a pledge of nationalism. "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," The Hindu quoted historian and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor Aditya Mukherjee as saying. He also added that the right way to arouse nationalism in someone is to create an idea of a nation that is "appealing and inclusive".

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Sep 21, 2018 09:34:47 IST