New Delhi: Amid row over University Grants Commission’s (UGC) circular to universities to mark September 29 as ‘Surgical Strike Day’, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday clarified that the circular is only advisory in nature, not mandatory or imposed.  “We have not made any compulsions on institutions or students. We have issued a program because of suggestions from many students and teachers that they need to commemorate the second anniversary of surgical strike,” the HRD minister told reporters.

“We never mandate anything, we suggest and issue advisory. There is no politics, it is only patriotism,” the Union minister added.

Furthermore he informed that the central government has asked colleges to arrange lectures by ex-army officers who can brief students about the defence forces. “On 29th September, we have asked colleges, those who want to, can arrange a lecture by ex-army officers who can tell the students how defence forces defend the country and how the surgical strike was conducted,” Javadekar  asserted.

Earlier on Thursday, UGC had issued a circular requesting all higher educational institutions (HEI), universities and colleges that they may observe ‘Surgical Strike Day’ on September 29.

Reacting over the circular, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said,”It is absolutely shocking. In fact, I don’t think since independence, we have seen UGC giving any kind of directive of this nature to universities. For UGC, to give a directive is destroying the very independence of the university system.”

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.