Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Prakash Javadekar on Friday clarified that the University Grants Commission's (UGC) circular directing universities and colleges to observe 'Surgical Strike Day' on September 29 is only advisory in nature, and not mandatory or imposed.
Speaking to media, Javadekar said, "We have not made any compulsions either to institutes or to students. We have issued a programme because of suggestions from many students and teachers that they need to commemorate the second anniversary of the surgical strike. Hence, on September 29 (anniversary of surgical strike), we have asked colleges, those who want to, can arrange a lecture by ex-Army officers who can tell the students how Defence forces defend the country, how they do the civilian duty, what is the special feature of surgical strike and how the surgical strike was conducted. This information needs to reach the students."
Brushing aside any political motive behind the directive, the minister said, "This is not political. This is not Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) rally. This is purely ex-Army personnel going to various colleges and institutes and telling institutes how Defence forces defend the country. There is no politics, and it is only patriotism."
He also criticised the Congress for opposing the move and said, "We never mandate anything, we suggest and issue advisory. Thousands of institutes, colleges follow (the advisory). We never make anything compulsory that is the difference between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress and other political parties objecting over it is wrong."
The UGC has issued a circular requesting all higher educational institutions (HEI), universities and colleges that they may observe 'Surgical Strike Day' on September 29.
The Congress, however, criticised the circular saying that the motive of the directive is to reap political gains. "I do not 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. The only motive of this directive is to reap political gains," Senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Kapil Sibal said.