The central government has asked the education department of Jammu and Kashmir to ensure schools across the state celebrate Surgical Strike Day on September 29 to mark the second anniversary of the Indian Army’s strike against terror cells across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
A photo of the circular issued by the department was tweeted by National Conference chief Omar Abdullah, saying school children are being ordered to celebrate the day and officers are instructed to send compliance reports with video as well as photographic evidence.
The schools have been directed to celebrate the valour of the armed forces for three days – September 28 to 30 – and a list of activities has also been given in the circular.
The activities include school students “pledging support to the armed forces by writing letters and cards addressed to the nearest army formation”.
“All schools with units of the National Cadet Corps shall organise special parade followed by motivational lectures or talks by inviting war veterans and other related persons,” the circular reads.
The department also appointed officers to ensure each programme is held in schools and they will then send a one-page report along with photos and videos of the activities.
The government’s directive is in line with the earlier circular issued by the University Grants Commission, asking universities and higher educational institutes across the country to observe ‘Surgical Strike Day’.
The move had created a furore, with critics saying it was a BJP attempt to milk the army’s action for political again.
West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee said that educational institutes in his state would not celebrate the day. “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.
The UGC had later said that the circular was an advisory and not compulsory.
“I must denounce the Congress charge that we are politicising surgical strikes. We are not politicising. No, we are telling the students how the armed forces defended our country. How they conducted the surgical strike. This is to inspire students,” HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said.