West Bengal Government refuses to comply with UGC directives Sardar Patel


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The West Bengal government has refused to comply with the UGC directives asking higher educational institutions to observe October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas' (national unity day). In a circular to higher educational institutions on October 22, the UGC had called for observing October 31 as 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas' to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel "in a befitting manner."

"We will not be party to the bid of BJP to politicise the sacrifices of freedom fighters," West Bengal Education minister Partha Chatterjee said on Wednesday. Chatterjee wondered why UGC did not approach the state higher education department and instead contacted universities and affiliated higher educational institutions on its own.

"For holding any such programmes they (UGC) must have held talks with the concerned state government. Why did they send circulars to the varsities directly? If they try to impose their decision, we will never accept," Chatterjee said. He said there had been similar instances in the past when UGC and MHRD had "done the same practice to keep the state government in dark" while asking educational institutions to celebrate certain days "in an one sided fashion."

The UGC circular, signed by Secretary Prof Rajnish Jain, had stated the occasion to celebrate 'Rashtriya Ekta Divas', "provides us an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of our nation to withstand the actual and potential threats to the unity, integrity and security of our country."

The circular had suggested programme like 'Run for Unity' by students, teachers and staff, 'Rashtriya Ekta Diwas' oath taking ceremony besides holding debates, quizzes and competition on topics of patriotism in universities and affiliated colleges. In colleges where NCC unit existed, UGC recommended inviting Army Officers/Ex-Army Officers to speak on issues like national unity, integrity and security, in the circular.

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