Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday criticised Congress leader Kapil Sibal for terming the observance of Surgical Strike Day as a “jumla” (gimmick), contending that the exercise will enhance national prestige.

“This is only meant to increase the prestige of the Army. There is no politics in it. I must denounce the Congress charge that we are politicising the surgical strike. No, we are not doing that,” the Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister said.

“We are telling the students how the armed forces defend our country, how they conducted the surgical strike on September 29, 2016, and how they also perform civilian duties whenever necessary,” Javadekar said.

“This is to inspire students by making them aware of the patriotism of the armed forces… There’s no compulsion to celebrate it,” Javadekar told reporters.

Congress leader and former HRD Minister Kapil Sibal earlier took a jibe at the decision to celebrate September 29 as the ‘Surgical Strike Day,’ commemorating the 2016 strike carried out by the Indian Army inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

“UGC directs VCs of all universities to celebrate September 29 as Surgical Strike Day. Is this meant to educate or to serve BJP’s political ends? Will UGC dare celebrate November 8 as Surgical Strike Day depriving the poor of their livelihood? This another jumla!,” Sibal tweeted on Friday.

The decision to celebrate the day was announced on Thursday when the University Grants Commission (UGC) in a letter to all Vice Chancellors of the universities had asked them to observe the day in their institutions through special parades by National Cadet Corps, and pledge of support by students to the armed forces by writing letters and cards.