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UGC directs Univs to observe Surgical Strike Day, Govt says not mandatory after criticism

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UGC directs Univs to observe Surgical Strike Day, Govt says not mandatory after criticism

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday directed universities and higher education institutions across the country to observe September 29 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.

BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have referred to the incident at political rallies, pitching it as proof of their decisive governance. The opposition, however, has said it was not the first surgical strike but the first one to be publicised widely for the BJP’s political gain.

The UGC circular asked the institutions to organise talk-sessions by ex-servicemen about sacrifices by the armed forces, special parades, visiting exhibitions and sending greeting cards to pledge their support for armed forces, are among the activities prescribed by the commission for the celebrations.

The letter also desires that students pledge their support for the armed forces in writing that day.

“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 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 letter also issues an instruction to students: “The students shall pledge their support for the armed forces by writing letters and cards, which may be produced in both physical and digital format.”

These letters of support, it says, will be publicised in the conventional and social media. “The letters and cards should be shared with PRO Defence and PIB for publicity across various media,” the UGC said.

The UGC letter says that physical letters of support so received may be sent to nearby cantonments and shared with army officers visiting various colleges to meet students. It also asks institutions to encourage their students and faculty to visit the multimedia exhibition to be organised at India Gate in the national capital or in State capitals, important towns and cantonments across India.

In the first such action to be made public, India carried out surgical strikes on September 29, 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).

Surgical Strike Day UGC circular

UGC directs Univs to observe Surgical Strike Day, Govt says not mandatory after criticism

Source: https://www.ugc.ac.in/

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 as saying.

Attempt to own nationalism, militarise campus

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, reported The Hindu. “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.”

Opposition parties including the Congress and Trinamool Congress lashed out at the move.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too criticised the move. “The best way to celebrate surgical strike day wud be for the PM to visit the family of Sh Narendra Singh, who was tortured and slain by Pak this week. PM shud assure the nation that Pak wud be given such befitting reply that it won’t dare do it again (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.

West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, of the Trinamool Congress, called the directive a part of the BJP’s “agenda” and said educational institutes in the state will not celebrate the day.

“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.

“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.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal targeted the government saying it was an attempt to aggrandize Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The UGC directive on Surgical Strike Day is a political move. This is just to show that PM Modi did what no one else could. I condemn it,” he told NDTV.

Govt clarifies after criticism

The UGC directive to observe the second anniversary of “surgical strikes” in universities and colleges is not a mandatory order, the centre clarified today after the move drew criticism from the opposition, which said the BJP-led government was trying to use the military to score political points.

“We have not made any compulsion neither to the institutes nor to the students. We have issued a program because it was a suggestion by many students and teachers,” Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said.

“And therefore on 29th of September, we have asked colleges – those who want to do – can arrange a lecture by an ex-army official who can describe to the student how the country gets defended… what is special feature of surgical strikes and how it was conducted,” he said.

“This is not political, this is not [a] BJP rally. I think this is the best thing to do on this occasion,” Javadekar added.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

Liquor Policy Case: Supreme Court issues notice on plea by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal challenging arrest and remand by Enforcement Directorate

The Delhi CM was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21, hours after the high court refused to grant him protection from coercive action by ED. The AAP Supremo is currently lodged in Tihar Jail.

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The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate on a plea by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest in the liquor policy case. A bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate on Kejriwal’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court order that had upheld his arrest in the case. The bench asked the Enforcement Directorate to file a reply to the plea by April 24, and said the matter would be heard in the week commencing April 29.

The High Court had on April 9 upheld Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest in the money-laundering case, and said the ED was left with little option after he skipped repeated summonses and refused to join the investigation. The high court had dismissed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader’s petition challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate and subsequent remand in its custody.

The matter is related to money laundering and alleged corruption in the formulation and execution of the Delhi government’s excise policy for 2021-22 that has been scrapped. The Delhi CM was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21, hours after the high court refused to grant him protection from coercive action by ED. The AAP Supremo is currently lodged in Tihar Jail.

The Delhi High Court last week said that there was nothing illegal about Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate. Justice Swarna Kanta recorded a prima facie finding that there was adequate proof, including statements of approves, involvement of middlemen and references that cash was handed over for expenditure in the 2022 Goa elections. Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Delhi Chief Minister’s petition challenging his arrest and subsequent remand in Enforcement Directorate’s custody. The court additionally stated that Arvind Kejriwal was involved in an individual capacity in the formulation of the now-scrapped liquor policy and in soliciting bribes.

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India News

Mukesh Ambani, son Akash Ambani and wife Shloka Mehta offer prayers at Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai

Akash and Shloka’s elder son Prithvi too accompanied his parents to the temple. Mukesh Ambani opted to keep it simple as he was seen wearing a white kurta and pyjama. Akash Ambani on the other hand chose to wear a casual green t-shirt while Shloka opted for a kurta.

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Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, elder son Akash Ambani and his wife Shloka Mehta, offered prayers at the Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai on Sunday. They visited the famous temple ahead of the important Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) IPL match that took place on Sunday evening.

Akash and Shloka’s elder son Prithvi too accompanied his parents to the temple. Mukesh Ambani opted to keep it simple as he was seen wearing a white kurta and pyjama. Akash Ambani on the other hand chose to wear a casual green t-shirt while Shloka opted for a kurta. Mukesh Ambani, Akash and Shloka had visited the same temple earlier this month too, ahead of the Mumbai Indians Vs Delhi Capitals match.

The Ambanis regularly visit the Siddhivinayak temple on important occasions. The family had visited the temple on Nita Ambani’s birthday in November last year. Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta got married in 2019. The couple welcomed their first child, Prithvi, in 2020. They have named their daughter Veda.

Last month, a grand pre-wedding party was hosted by by Mukesh and Nita Ambani for their younger son, Anant Ambani, and fiancée Radhika Merchant, in Gujarat’s Jamnagar. The party was attended by Bollywood celebrities, industrialists, tech tycoons and other VIPs from all over the world. B-Town celebrities who attended the pre-wedding festivities were Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Rani Mukherji, Aditya Roy Kapur, Ananya Panday, Ibrahim Ali Khan, Sara Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Kiara Advani, Sidharth Malhotra, Aamir Khan, Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates too participated in the celebrations. The other guests included were Chairperson of World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, Former Prime Minister Of Australia Kevin Rudd, Jorge Quiroga, former President of Bolivia, President of Google Donald Harrison, former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt.

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Rahul Gandhi’s helicopter searched by election officials in Tamil Nadu, ahead of Wayanad visit

Election officials in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris checked a helicopter carrying Rahul Gandhi while he was travelling to Wayanad.

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Election officials in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris on Monday inspected a chopper carrying Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, according to reports. The chopper landed in the Nilgiris, and the search was carried out by the flying squad officials, according to police.

The incident happened as Rahul Gandhi was traveling to Wayanad, his Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, where he was scheduled to participate in a number of campaign events, such as a roadshow and a public meeting.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi was elected from Wayanad.He is now contesting for reelection to the seat.

Meanwhile, in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi stepped up his campaign in Kerala by planning a significant roadshow at Sulthan Bathery. After touching base with students at a nearby college in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, which borders Kerala, Rahul Gandhi drove to Sulthan Bathery.

Gandhi walked through Sulthan Bathery on top of an open car with hundreds of delighted people holding signs with his picture on them. Rahul Gandhi is also scheduled to attend a farmers’ rally in Pulpally later in the day. He will also be meeting party workers at road shows in Mananthavady, Vellamunda, and Padinjarathara.

It’s interesting to note that the Communist Party of India (CPI), an ally of the Opposition INDIA alliance, would be Rahul Gandhi’s opponent. His rival in the BJP’s Kerala unit president K Surendran.

Kerala, which has 20 Lok Sabha seats, will hold a single phase of voting on April 26. On the other hand, on April 19, 39 Tamil Nadu constituencies will hold Lok Sabha elections.

The results of the voting will be announced on June 4, 2024.

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