A day after the University Grants Commission (UGC) directed universities and higher educational institutions to observe September 29 as “Surgical Strike Day”, West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said on Friday the educational institutes in his state would not celebrate the day.

Slamming the BJP-led central government for trying to malign and politicise the Army, the minister said the UGC’s directive to universities was part of the BJP’s agenda.

“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 added.

On September 29 in 2016, the Indian Army carried out “surgical strikes” on seven terrorist launchpads across the LoC as a response to an attack on its base in Uri earlier that month. The Indian Army had said its special forces inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists waiting there to cross onto the Indian territory.

The UGC has advised the universities to conduct talk sessions by ex-servicemen about sacrifices by the armed forces, special parades by NCC and visit to exhibitions to celebrate the 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-servicemen to sensitise students about sacrifices made by the armed forces,” the UGC said in a communication to all Vice Chancellors across the country 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.

(With agency inputs)