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Posted at: Aug 13, 2017, 10:06 PM; last updated: Aug 13, 2017, 10:06 PM (IST)

Ignore Centre's format for I-Day celebration, Bengal schools told

Ignore Centre's format for I-Day celebration, Bengal schools told
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. — PTI file
New Delhi, August 13

In a fresh confrontation with the Centre, West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee government has issued "urgent" instructions to all schools and other educational institutions to "stop all preparations" for celebrating Independence Day 2017 in a format prescribed by the Union HRD Ministry.

Ahead of Independence Day, the Centre has written to the states to organise events in schools towards creating a "patriotic mood" and a "mass fervour" to help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'New India' vision.

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However, West Bengal has instructed its schools to desist from following the Centre's circular, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, terming the decision of the Trinamool Congress government as "unfortunate".

Javadekar told reporters, the instructions, such as administering of the prime minister's Sankalp Siddhi oath or commemorating the martyrs of freedom struggle or "various wars/terrorist actions", are not binding on the schools and were part of a "secular agenda".

"It is desirable that this momentous occasion should be celebrated with an objective to create a festive and patriotic mood across the nation and a movement is created to involve every citizen of this country in the mission of realising the vision of a new India, which is clean and free from poverty, corruption, terrorism, communalism and casteism," Joint Secretary, MHRD, Maneesh Garg wrote to the states.

In the letter, Garg also requested the states to publicise the events, to be held between August 9 and 30, to help create a mass fervour in favour of the mission.

It added that apart from administering oath, the schools, including those affiliated to the CBSE, may be asked to organise quiz competitions on the struggle for Independence and the country's development and painting competitions on the same theme.

The quiz can be downloaded from the Narendra Modi App or the government's official portal, it said.

Meanwhile, Javadekar shared a copy of the memo issued by the State Project Director of the West Bengal Sarva Shiksha Mission, which says that it has been decided by the school education department that Independence Day will not be celebrated in line with the Centre's circular.

"The language used in the West Bengal government's memo is strange and unfortunate. I will talk to them. What we have proposed is a secular agenda, not a political party agenda," he said. PTI/IANS

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