The circular issued by the UGC under instructions from the HRD Ministry regarding the observance of “surgical strike day” on September 28, is outrageous and objectionable as it seeks to create a jingoistic atmosphere in the country to take forward the political agenda of the ruling party.

It is yet another example of the Government’s utter contempt for minimum democratic norms and respect for the autonomy of institutions in its efforts to push its narrow agenda.

Not only has the UGC, a supposedly autonomous institution, been suborned by the Government to issue instructions to educational institutions, even the media has been told to carry programmes on the surgical strikes thus constituting a direct interference in the freedom of the press. The subsequent statement of the Minister Prakash Javadekar that this was not mandatory is nothing but a poor defence in the face of the strong opposition to the circular.

The circular should be withdrawn forthwith.