West Bengal has refused to create fervour around PM Modi's 'New India' vision (File).
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. The West Bengal government has, however, refused to abide by the direction.
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".
Mr 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 of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Maneesh Garg wrote to the states.
In the letter, Mr Garg also requested the states to publicise the events, to be held between August 9 and 30, to help create a mass fervour in favor 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, Mr 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.