The Mamata Banerjee-led Bengal administration has got into a direct confrontation with the centre over Independence Day celebrations scheduled for next week.
Amidst the raging controversy over BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh government’s diktat making it compulsory for Madrasa students to sing the national song “Vande Mataram” on I-day, the Bengal government has decided to suspend all such school programmes on that day.
Issuing an “urgent” directive to all District Project Officers in-charge of the Sarva Shikha Mission in the state, the Bengal government has asked schools to “stop all preparations for celebrating Independence Day 2017” in accordance with the specifications mentioned by the union Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD).
The MHRD school education department had earlier issued a circular on July 25 to education secretaries of all states had specified “additional activities” to be undertaken by schools under the Sarva Shiksha Mission to celebrate Independence Day in a “befitting manner”.
According to the circular, schools were requested to organise nine prescribed activities between August 8 and 15th with an objective to “create festive and patriotic mood across the nation”. These include quiz and debate competitions on the theme of India’s freedom struggle, patriotic slogan writing competitions, organizing Prabhat Pheris and marches, film screenings showcasing India’s progress and taking unity and Swachhta pledges.
However, taking exception to the centre’s circular, the Bengal school education department issued the notice on Friday, barely 72 hours before 15th August stating that Independence Day 2017 “will not be celebrated” in the manner specified by the Modi government.